Urban Agriculture, Food Security And Nutrition In Low Income Areas Of The City Of Nairobi, Kenya
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This article considers the extent to which farming activities undertaken by low-income dwellers in Nairobi, Kenya, play a role in the food security and nutritional status of the households involved. It compares three low-income groups - two in Korogocho, viz. those who practise urban agriculture and those who do not, and one in the Kitui-Kanuku-Kinyago area, viz. households involved in the Undugu Society Urban Agriculture Project (USUAP). The questionnaire results indicate that those who farmed produced mainly for home consumption. The major problem urban farmers faced was theft. The food situation of the USUAP farming group was generally better than that of the two Korogocho groups. In all three groups, purchased food formed by far the most important food source. On average, all three groups had inadequate energy intake. However, the energy and protein intakes in the USUAP group were higher than in the other two groups. The USUAP group purchased more food, a fact related to their higher level of welfare as a result of benefits derived from income-generating activities and a shelter improvement project that came along with the urban agriculture project. Measures of nutritional health for young children showed a similar pattern in favor of the farming groups, albeit to a lesser extent. The long-term beneficial effect on nutritional status, however, was negligible.