World Food Day: How organic farming could help to combat Covid-19 risks

Ngong Organic Farmers chairman Peter Melonye with Nelly Otieno of KOAN and Ann Mwaura (r) of CSHEP who were awarded during celebration of World Food Day in Kiserian .Photo Obegi Malack

By Obegi Malack

Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) which has killed more than one million people worldwide continues to threaten countries’ economies. Evidence to date suggests that two groups of people are at a higher risk of being infected and succumbing to Covid-19 disease.

These are older people and those with underlying medical conditions such as those with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer.

Some of these diseases are lifestyle diseases that are associated with bad eating habits or people consuming food produced through conventional farming in total disregard of their health.

Organic farmers have appealed to people to change their lifestyles by practicing organic farming and consuming organic food to beat Covid-19.

Ngong Organic Farmers association chairperson Peter Melonyie points out that organic farming is the solution to lifestyle diseases. He says there has been an increase of diseases in the country because people no longer care about the quality of food produce and instead put emphasis on but the quantity of their produce.

Speaking at Kiserian during World Food Day celebrations, marked yearly on every 16th October,  Melonye noted that the association of organic farmers is concerned about increase of the lifestyle diseases which have reduced lifespan of human beings.

“We appeal to farmers to  now practice organic farming not because  it is  economical and manageable but  as a solution to lifestyle diseases,” he appealed.

Theme for this year World Food Day is “Grow, nourish, sustain, together. Our actions are our future.”

Organic farmers during World Food Day celebrations in Kiserian,Kajiado County

Non-governmental organisation Community Sustainable Agriculture and Healthy Environmental Programme (CSHEP) official, Ann Mwaura said organic farming is not harmful since it relies on techniques such as crop rotation, green manure, compost and biological pest control.

During the event several farmers were taken through organic farming methods. The farmers have open market and exhibition every Friday of the week in Enkang Kiserian where they also sell their products to supermarkets.

Rabbit farmer Phelister Kanini said rabbit urine should be used in farming since is not poisonous and is environmental friendly. Farmers also displayed herbal medicine which is from plants. The event was attended by Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN), Biovision Africa Trust, Brooks Enterprises, Rue Organics among others.

Organic farmers during World Food Day celebrations in Kiserian,Kajiado County

Pesticide poisoning causes more deaths than infectious diseases in developing countries the participants were told. Around 99 per cent of pesticide poisoning deaths occur in poor  countries due to weaker regulations on health, safety and environmental regulations. The farmers challenged the county and national government to support them in marketing their produce and training.

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