Hydroponic farming is a high tech growing method where crops are grown without soil or there is use other medium such as perlite or rock wool and other mineral solution solvent in a water solvent allowing nutrient uptake process to be more efficient than when using soil.
Slums are defined as highly populated urban residential areas consisting of closely packed, decrepit housing units in a situation of deteriorated or incomplete infrastructure inhabited primarily by impoverished persons.
Hydroponic in the slums is a Project by Safe Spaces and Hydroponics Africa to provide women and Girls in Mathari slums with vertical hydroponic hanging gardens where they will practice cultivation of vegetables mostly spinach, cow-peas, Ethiopian Kale and coriander with an objective to sell and feed on some to improve both their nutrition in their food consumption and sell part of it to improve their livelihoods.
FarmIT is a consultant in this project providing agronomy support and training the girls and women and the community about the benefits of having the vertical hanging gardens in the community.
The pilot project has recorded a total number of 72 household installed with 3 units of vertical hanging gardens capable of hosting 200 plants. Commercial model farms gardens have been installed in schools in the Mathari area. Identification of local vendors in retail kiosk and food vendors have been contacted and payment agreements have been formalized in every delivery
However the challenges that face the projects are frequent water shortages experienced in Mathari slums, pest and disease infestations, and security have been the major hurdles. However the Safe Spaces have come up with mitigation measures such as community mobilization and awareness of the importance of the project, buying water and storing in huge water reservoirs and using bio pesticides and fungicides to mitigate and prevent the adverse effects of pest and diseases.
The projects which hope to turn into a social business venture seem very much viable and with proper management structures such as viable business plan and proper team cohesion the project will be sustainable.