Kenya vegetable farmers paying with their health to feed the world

By Gatonye Gathura

While trying to feed a growing demand for vegetable diets to local urban and European markets, farmers in parts of Kenya report alarming rates of pesticide poisoning

Pesticide use, says a five year study on pesticide and health among vegetable farmers by Kenyatta University, increased dramatically within the period.

The survey was carried out by Dr Ibrahim Macharia and published in December in the online journal BioMed Research International.

The survey sampled 839 vegetable farmers in Kiambu, Kirinyaga, Murang’a, Nyandarua, Makueni and Meru Central producing for both local and European markets..

“The results showed that the incidences of pesticide-related acute illness had increased by over 70 per cent in the study period.”

Dizziness as one of the major neurological effects of pesticide exposure was found to have doubled during the period.

However, only a few of affected farmers went to see a doctor with most treating themselves at home or visiting the local drug selling outlet.

Cost of health care was the main reason most of the poisoned did not visit hospitals according to the study.

Rocket Science

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