In Summary
  • Samwel Oduya, the school’s agriculture teacher, says they began with growing tomatoes on a small plot of land in the school’s compound, which had been idle for years.
  • The teacher recalls that while they had a bumper harvest on their first season, they were shocked in the next when their tomatoes wilted
  • Because students are not always in school, especially during the weekends and school holidays, they have employed a farmhand to help them manage the crops.
  • Early this year, they partnered with Kilimo Jijini, a non-for-profit organisation, which is training the students and communities in Kibra on new urban farming technologies.

Olympic Secondary School in the heart of the sprawling Kibera slums in Nairobi is a garden of greens. Greenhouses, potted vegetables and sukuma wiki planted in the open field enrich its landscape.

In 2011, some months after the government revived the 4K Club programme in schools, the institution ran fast with the idea and established what is now one of the most enviable urban farms.

Samwel Oduya, the school’s agriculture teacher, says they began with growing tomatoes on a small plot of land in the school’s compound, which had been idle for years.

A few weeks later, they were visited by officials from the Agricultural Society of Kenya (ASK) and the Ministry of Agriculture who approved of their good efforts and rewarded them with a greenhouse, complete with a drip irrigation kit.

A government extension officer would also regularly visit the school farm to advise them on crop management.

The teacher recalls that while they had a bumper harvest on their first season, they were shocked in the next when their tomatoes wilted.

“The extension officer informed us that plants had been attacked by bacterial wilt. We, therefore, changed to vegetables. Now whenever we grow tomatoes, we plant them in polythene sleeves,” he says.

Inside their two greenhouses, they have planted tomatoes and sukuma wiki and spinach in the open field. Chinese vegetables are planted in sacks and old car tyres. The crops are irrigated with clean tap water. The school also has 65 layers.

“We do multistorey gardening, sack gardening and also farm in tins. Most of our students come from slums, where they is no space for farming so we teach them techniques that they can adopt at home,” he noted.

URGE YOUTH TO TAKE UP AGRIBUSINESS

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