What Works: Feeding Cities – In Africa
Currently, the majority of urban farmers live in Asia, but as Africa’s cities continue to grow—by 14 million people every year—they are increasingly becoming centers for food production and innovation.
By Danielle Nierenberg
Nourishing the Planet
This post is part of a series where Nourishing the Planet asks its readers: What works?
In Accra, Ghana, the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), a non-profit organization working in Asia and Africa to improve water and land management for farmers and the environment, is working with farmers to increase harvests and improve sanitation. Many urban farmers use waste water to irrigate their crops and to clean their produce, causing a sanitation concern.
IWMI’s extension workers are meeting with urban farmers to discuss simple and affordable steps that can be taken to reduce waste water contamination during planting and harvesting, as well as when crops are taken to markets to be sold. Urban farmers in Accra are now irrigating with water collected in “waste sedimentation ponds”—ponds built specifically to allow sediment to sink to the bottom so farmers can irrigate with the cleaner surface water—and with simple containers of filtered water. Some are now also using drip irrigation from kits produced by International Development Enterprises (IDE), allowing them to use water more precisely and to conserve clean water (see also Slow and Steady Irrigation Wins the Race).
And these are just the beginning. Do you know of any projects that working to help farmers feed the cities?