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

Benefits & risks 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:

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Urban agriculture definition

Urban agriculture is a broad concept encompassing various forms of plant …

Definition

Urban Agriculture

… 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.

Definition: Urban agriculture
Urban agriculture is a broad concept encompassing various forms of plant and livestock production in a variety of production systems in urban and peri-urban areas.
“Urban agriculture can be defined as the growing of plants and the raising of animals for food and other uses within and around cities and towns, and related activities such as the production and delivery of inputs, and the processing and marketing of products. Urban Agriculture is located within or on the fringe of a city and comprises of a variety of production systems, ranging from subsistence production and processing at household level to fully commercialized agriculture. Urban agriculture is generally characterised by closeness to markets, high competition for land, limited space, use of urban resources such as organic solid wastes and wastewater, low degree of farmer organisation, mainly perishable products, high degree of specialisation, to name a few. By supplying perishable products such as vegetables, fresh milk and poultry products, urban agriculture to a large extent complements rural agriculture and increases the efficiency of national food systems.” (van Veenhuizen, 2006, p. 2)

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