Kiambu county residents have been urged to grow organic foods to avoid grappling with lifestyle diseases.
The residents were told to practice organic farming to also protect their soil from being rendered unproductive by chemical fertilisers.
JungleNut CEO Patrick Wainaina said that the increasing cases of lifestyle diseases in the region, including diabetes, hypertension and obesity are as a result of poor eating habits.
He said that most farmers have been growing genetically modified crops due to the change of rainfall pattern where most parts of the country have been receiving minimal rains.
Wainana, however, warned that the GMOs are the main cause of the increasing lifestyle diseases.
Speaking at Ngoliba in Thika East on Saturday, Wainaina said that organic farming is slowly losing its grip in the region as most farmers have turned farming into agribusiness ventures while in total disregard of their health.
“Most people have become business-oriented and no longer care about the quality but the quantity of their produce,” he said.
“Farmers must rethink their decision to grow GMOs. We must go back to the indigenous foods our forefathers used to grow and eat.”
His sentiments were echoed by Kenya Institute of Organic Farming principal John Wanjau who said that organic farming is cheap and helps integrate all types of farming, ensuring maximum utilisation of the available land.
“Organic farming is economical and manageable and assures high yields,”he said.
He added,“Farmers should rely on natural processes, compost manure and biological pest control methods to boost soil fertility or manage pests and diseases.”
He said that organic agriculture enables farmers to boost yields using locally available environment resources or additional low-cost biological inputs and offers a sustainable farming approach to most small scale farmers.
Wanjau attributed the increasing cases of cancers and other diseases to the neglect of organic farming, saying that even the lifespan of human beings is drastically dwindling due to consumption of the GMOs.
“Come to think of it: why earlier in the 1980s and 90s we never heard of many cancer cases like we are having the unending cases now,” he said.
“It is high time we think of what we consume or else be prepared to meet the cost of treating these diseases.”
Ngugi Mutuura, an organic farming expert, warned that cancer and other lifestyles diseases have increased due to importation of the many chemicals.
He said the country is used as a dumping ground for such chemicals, some of which are prohibited in their countries of origin.
Mutuura, however, said organic farming presents an opportunity for poor farming households to increase food and agricultural productivity using cheaper organic inputs originating from within the farms.
This, he said, comprises compost, livestock manures, and crop residues.