Urban farming blossoms in Kenya
Thousands of entrepreneurs in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi have embraced urban farming irrigation with wastewater, according to website Businessdailyafrica.com.
The story said the market was dominated by women from 'informal settlements' on the city's outskirts, selling produce such as oranges or potatoes to the inner city's workers via grocery shops.
Business Daily reported that 70-90% of perishable vegetables consumed in African cities were dependent on wastewater, which includes nutrients that boost crop yields without the need for as many chemical fertilisers.
But these 'nutrients' also carry the risk of food contamination, highlighting the need to wash and cook fresh produce that is farmed with wastewater, according to a United Nations (UN) water report titled 'Drivers and Characteristics of Wastewater Agriculture in Developing Countries'.
"While wastewater has the potential to serve as a hitherto untapped water and nutrient source for agriculture; where treatment is limited it also has the potential to affect human health and pollute large volumes of freshwater, rendering them unfit for human uses," the report said.
"This problem is substantial in the developing world where urbanization has outpaced urban infrastructure development."
Business Daily cited International Water Management Institute statistics from 2009 that showed 20% of the world's food supply comes from urban farming, while half of that is grown using waste water.