THE ROLE AND CHALLENGES OF INFORMAL PLANT NURSERIES IN URBAN CENTRE OF A DEVELOPING COUNTRY
Recently there has been a proliferation of private plant nurseries within most urban centers in Kenya. Despite this trend, their operations and contribution to the well being of people is not well understood. This study sought to establish characteristics of private plant nurseries, economic benefits, identify challenges faced by operators, and evaluate the role of existing regulations in plant nursery business. A research survey was conducted through interviews and administering of semi-structured questionnaires to operators. Information obtained was analyzed and interpreted from descriptive statistics and ANOVA results. Spatially, concentration of nurseries was higher in northern than southern side of the city, particularly along main arterial roads. Over 60% of the nurseries were located within 10 km radius of the city centre. Space occupancy for over 96% of the plant nurseries was larger than required by city council regulations and only 40% had or have applied for license. Plant types were very similar across nurseries ranging from woody outdoor and indoor foliage plants to groundcovers and bedding plants, both exotic and indigenous. About 45% of nursery owners relied on wastewater sources for irrigation. Difficult-to-propagate plants included Olea capensis (Elgon teak), Araucaria heterophylla, Cycad, and the Palms. Aspects that scored low mean scores included nursery owners lack of skill, poor soil quality, water constraints, propagation success and low incomes. Significant differences existed between the five locations of the city with the northern side and central business district having preferable responses compared with the southern side. Despite the challenges, 96% of respondents relied on the business entirely for their economic needs. In order to manage and guarantee increased benefit from private plant nurseries, operators technical capacity should be enhanced, operational rules and regulations as set by the city council must be enforced and adapted to realities of this expanding peri-urban horticultural business.
Mukundi, J.B. and Kariuki, W. (2007). THE ROLE AND CHALLENGES OF INFORMAL PLANT NURSERIES IN URBAN CENTRE OF A DEVELOPING COUNTRY. Acta Hortic. 762, 357-364
urban open spaces, nursery inputs, technical skills, socio-economic benefits, regulation