Revealed: Danger of Poisonous Sukuma Wiki Sold in Kenyan Markets

  • Undated image of a lady selling vegetables at a local fresh produce market.
    Undated image of a lady selling vegetables at a local fresh produce market.
    Route to Food Initiative
  • A scientist on Monday, June 7, declared that some sukuma wiki, maize and tomatoes in kenya have dangerous chemicals dubbed highly hazardous pesticides. 

    Silke Bollmohr - the scientist - partnered with Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN) in the research and confirmed that farmers in Meru, Machakos, Kirinyaga and Murang'a were at risk of consuming the infected foods. He added that the pesticides can harm both humans and the environment. 

    Bollmohr indicated that fresh produce which most Kenyans consume have harmful pesticides. The World Health Organization affirmed that the chemicals have acute and chronic effects on humans.

    The pesticides can also hamper children's growth and development.

    A mother holding a baby
    A mother holding a baby

    Chlorpyrifos is the Highly Hazardous Pesticide that the scientist identified in Kenya. 

    Among the acute effects of these pesticides are attacks on the nervous system and weakening the blood's ability to clot. Getting exposed for short period of time can have an impact on your blood, lungs, kidneys, liver, immune system and gastrointestinal tract. 

    Chronic effects are prominent on eyes, skin, hormonal and reproductive system.

    The hazards can also contaminate water. 

    Using the Food and Agriculture Organization as well as the World Health Organizations registered criteria of pesticides can reduce the risk they have. In addition using natural predators can help manage pests.  

    Statistical data from Kenya National Bureau reflected that the price of sukuma wiki increased for the month of May. This data points to the number of Kenyans that consume the vegetable. 

    Sukuma wiki or Kale is a source of income for most small scale farmers. Riboflavin and Niacin are nutrients found Kale. The crop is also amongst the cheapest to produce. Thousand head and Collard are the types of Kale in Kenya according to a report by Smallholder Horticulture Empowerment and Promotion Project for Local and Up-Scaling.

    Kenyan farmers harvesting their crops
    Kenyan farmers harvesting their crops