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Africa: Feeding the rising urban population

In Dakar, 7500 households “grow their own” in micro gardens. In Malawi, 700,000 urban residents practice home gardening to meet their food needs and add extra income. Low-income city gardeners in Zambia make US$230 a year from sales.

“Growing greener cities in Africa will also help us to win the zero-hunger challenge,”

By James Melik
BBC World Service
12 September 2012


Mr Wina’s predicament highlights the need for national and local governments to support market gardening.

Market gardens create green belts that protect fragile areas, contain urban sprawl and build resilience to climate change.

The FAO says large areas of land could be set aside for horticulture and cites Kigali in Rwanda, where 15,000 hectares of land has been reserved for agriculture and wetlands, and Lagos in Nigeria where a similar approach has been taken with 4,400 hectares of land.

People have proven to be very enterprising when it comes to creating a vegetable garden
Treated waste water is safe and can supply most of the nutrients needed for horticulture, thereby decreasing the need to use drinking water.

Drip irrigation and rainwater harvesting also reduces demand on urban water supplies.

Horticulture provides livelihoods that are resilient to economic downturns and it can contribute to urban economic development.

According to the FAO, a good start is to encourage gardeners to form their own self-managed co-operatives, which can help them to diversify production, negotiate better prices, and improve post-harvest management.

“All stakeholders will need to co-operate in building an efficient urban fruit and vegetable supply system that provides fresh produce at a price all residents can afford,” says Mr Traore.

Read the complete article here.

Read FAO’s report: “Growing Greener Cities in Africa” here.