Influence of urban Agriculture practises on environmental sustainability in Nakuru town in Kenya
Ekuwam, Carolyne A
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The increasing urban poverty and food insecurity has motivated residents to develop coping strategies to mitigate the accompanying risks and challenges. One such strategy is urban agriculture which is the cultivation of crops and rearing of animals for food and other uses within and around cities. However, though an economic and survival strategy, it has associated environmental impacts that must be understood and addressed if urban areas are to be sustainable. Although there exists a certain body of knowledge regarding urban farming in sub-Saharan Africa, this knowledge is still very fragmentary and incomplete, because most studies focus on one or two aspects of urban farming only and mostly in one specific urban centre (usually the national capital) or even a specific part or project within that centre. This study sort to assess the impacts of urban agriculture on the environment in Nakuru town in, Kenya with a focus on Soil erosion, pollution and disposal of waste as the main variables in the study. The study adopted a cross-sectional survey research design. The target population included an estimated 35000 urban farm households. A clustered sample of 379 farm household heads were selected from all income residential areas low, middle and high income areas and included in the study. Data was collected through administration of a structured questionnaire and in depth interviews. The collected data was then processed and analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively. Quantitative analysis was used in descriptive statistics and inferential statistics with the aid of Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 17.0 for windows, while qualitative analysis was done through content analysis. The summaries of findings reveal that; urban agricultural practices bring about soil erosion, pollution, generates waste and the chemicals used as inputs also cause soil pollution. The study exposed that sheet erosion and gulley erosion as a result of urban agricultural practices is rampant in Nakuru Town. Air, soil and Noise pollution is experienced in residential areas where crop farming and livestock keeping is done. Chemical inputs used to enhance urban farming contribute greatly to water pollution especially during the rainy seasons. It was so evident that urban agriculture impacts negatively on the environment in Nakuru town and for environmental sustainability to be achieved there is need for the local authorities to implement the existing policies and also monitor and regulate urban agricultural practices in Nakuru town and in the county as a whole.