Biodiversity Encouraged in Kenya To Combat Water Shortages

Biodiversity Encouraged in Kenya To Combat Water Shortages

From All Africa.

In light of water shortages in Kenya, fruit and vegetables that have been ignored in favor of corn should be considered by farmers, agrobiodiversity researchers say.

Kenya’s agricultural water use is unsustainable and adversely affecting food security, according to an article in All Africa. The U.S. Agency for International Development says Kenya is one of the most water-scarce countries in the world. About 13 million Kenyans lack access to an improved water supply.

“In order to feed the nation, the country must explore agrobiodiversity, specifically (the growing of) vegetables and fruits which have been neglected in favor of (corn),” said Mary Abukutsa-Onyango, a professor of horticulture at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.

Indigenous crops are easy to manage, can handle high temperatures and mature quickly, such as the spider plant, also known as African cabbage, and amaranth, Abukutsa-Onyango said. They can be harvested within three weeks. The slenderleaf ice plant can withstand dry conditions. Corn, on the other hand, takes up to four months to mature.

At least 70 percent of Kenya’s agricultural production comes from smallholder farmers who farm on two to five acres. Eight million households in Kenya are involved in agriculture, according to the report.

Read more at All Africa.