Urban agriculture is a coping strategy to improve people’s livelihoods and household food security in rapidly growing and often disadvantaged urban areas in Africa. The project contributes to the wider task of establishing a safer, more diverse and competitive urban agricultural sector.
For urban communities in Maputo/ Mozambique and Cape Town/ South Africa UFISAMO aims to:
- improve food security and safety
- improve income generation
- assess benefits and risks in integrated urban livestock and crop farming
- combine research and practical applications of urban farming from grassroots to upper policy levels
Which topics are we working on?
Urban agriculture value chains
- description of food habits and consumer behaviour
- analysis of urban agriculture food crop and animal product value chains
Challenges and Opportunities of urban agriculture
- analysis of and recommendations for good practices in crop and livestock production for safe and healthy food
Urban agriculture research and education network
- local capacity building at consortium universities
- establishing an excellence and collaboration centre on urban agriculture for Southern Africa
Local capacity development and knowledge exchange through transferring research results into policies and practices
- analysis of existing dissemination and information systems, organisational structures and challenges
- dissemination of innovation and good practices in Maputo and Cape Town
The project covers all agricultural activities (livestock and crop related) taking place within the administrative boundaries of the two cities and covering densely populated (intra-urban) and more sparsely inhabited (peri-urban) areas, i.e. two quite distinct spatial entities:
… is as old as there are cities in this world. It can contribute to food and nutrition security, to income generation and poverty reduction as well as to improving urban ecosystems. It has been a popular response to growth dynamics and food crisis in many countries over many centuries. In the course of accelerated urbanization processes in the global south and the increasing need for sustainable urban planning worldwide, urban agriculture has come into the focus of scientific research.
The issue of urban agriculture has gained prominence over the past years. While its focus in the US and Europe is mainly on the „reclaiming“ of gardening culture and productive activities, healthy food, neighbourhood cooperation, integration of disfavoured groups/social rehabilitation etc. it serves mainly for subsistence production to secure household food security and income generation in the Global South. Some – few – cities acknowledge the value of UA and integrate it systematically as a productive sector into urbanization policies and land use planning. The rule however is, that UA has a difficult status: it is constantly threatened by competition for space and processes of crowding-out, and it often takes place under semi-legal conditions. Value chains are hardly developed, urban soils are frequently contaminated with heavy metals, and the inappropriate use of fertilizers and pesticides as well as the application of polluted water for irrigation, uncontrolled livestock rearing and similar issues pose serious threats to human health.
Despite all those issues, urban agriculture can bear numerous benefits, especially for poor and disfavoured segments of the population and is therefore found in all African urban centres.
• Socio-cultural benefits: Health (nutrition, environmental health), organisation, cooperation, mutual aid;
• Important economic benefits: income (where products are commercialized), reduced expenditures on food;
• Important ecological benefits: green zones for air purification, corridors for oxygen in polluted areas, for the preservation/regeneration of biodiversity, water and soil recycling (and upcycling), noise reduction.
The strengthening of benefits and reduction of risks related to urban agriculture is among the central objectives of UFISAMO.
Literature on urban agriculture