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How Nairobi Residents Are Risking Their Lives With Sewage Grown Food

Nyamweya is an investigation journalist currently working with a leading media house in Kenya.

A man tending to sewage grown kales in Nairobi

A man tending to sewage grown kales in Nairobi

Did you know where the ever-green, fresh farm produce that defies seasonal arrangements in Nairobi streets come from? Well wonder no more as nyamweya on hubpages has got the answers to that.

Nyamweya on hubpages has learnt that, sewage farming is thriving in the city and continues to do so on a daily basis.

Those who have decided to engage on the business either through design or default are reaping great from it.

A yearlong investigation by this writer has unearthed a thriving farm at the outskirts of Nairobi estates estate where food crops such as yams, sugarcane, kales, cabbages, maize, potatoes, and other vegetables are grown using sewage water. Besides the farm is a sewer tunnel which is used to irrigate the crops.

When the writer visited a specific sewage farm, several people were busy working on the farm, with others cultivating, weeding while were irrigating the crops using a water pump that uses sewage water.

Most of the crops on the farm looked healthier, and fresh, thanks to the constant supply of the “water” and “manure” in the sewage.

One of the farm owners interviewed by this writer who identified himself as Mr. Samuel Ongechi, revealed that traders come to the farm seeking crops such as yams, kales, cabbages, potatoes and even maize in bulk which they then go and sell to other small scale traders who sell them in small quantities. So far, the crops are sold to the nearby estates such as Dandora, Umoja, Saika, Njiru, Kayole, Komarock, Korogocho and even Kariobangi.

“In fact, we don’t even look for customers, rather, they just come to us with their orders” he says.

Mr. Ongechi further attests that the reason why the demands for his crops are higher could be because the crops look green, health and fresh.

“Many people are always attracted by fresh and health looking crops and will go for such when looking for vegetables in groceries” he says adding that “those looking unhealthy are avoided by clients”.

However, as claimed by Mr. Ongechi sewage grown crops are highly perishable and traders can go at a loss if they don’t manage to sell them within two days since they will get spoilt.

Mr. Ongechi who is grateful to God for giving him this farm says that he pays all his bills including school fees for his children through proceeds from the farm.

“ I can’t complain as this business helps me pay my bills, I have educated all my kids through this farming” he says adding that “in a good month, I can make a round 80000 cash money of which I use 20000 to pay my casual workers”

This writer sought the views of a nutrionist, Dr, Kevin Mwangi of Precure Nutrion Clinic concerning the implications of sewage grown crops.

Accordingly, Dr. Mwangi claims that food grown using sewage wastes is dangerous despite looking healthier as it contains heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, and cadmium. These heavy metals are absorbed by crops such as kales and upon being eaten; they are introduced into the body system. The result is then gastrointestinal complications such as diarrhea, bloating, and sometimes bleeding. The metals can as well affect kidneys and lead to kidney complications and disorders.

In order to avoid the implications of these foods, Dr. Mwangi says that “people need to engage in exercises, take plenty of water (2-3L) a day to boost immunity and remove the toxins from the body and endeavor to eat properly grown crops”

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