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Securing tenure for Urban Agriculture through the process of formalization – Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Jitihada Garden Group at Kawe Garden, the pilot project after formalusation of urban agriculture.

Experiences from Sustainable Cities International facilitated strategic planning and zoning in Dar es Salaam

By Morgen Zivhave
The author teaches at the University of Zimbabwe and is interested in urban agriculture research and pursuing a PhD on the subject.
October 2013


1.0 Executive Summary

The formalization of urban agriculture (UA) in Dar es Salaam successfully zoned 30 areas (3 from Kinondoni Municipal Council, 7 from Ilala Municipal Council and 20 from Temeke Municipal Council) from each of the 3 Municipal Councils in Dar es Salaam. The process involved stakeholders from a broad spectrum of institutions in Dar es Salaam such as central and local government, NGOs, research and training institutions and farmer representatives. The formalization process brought awareness on the importance of UA previously sidelined against other competing land uses. It also garnered support for implementation of the UA strategies. UA in Dar es Salaam is an important source of livelihood supplying 90% of leaf vegetables and 60% milk for the city. Urban farmers constituted 65% of the informal sector in Dar es Salaam and their average income ranges from 1.6 to double the industrial monthly minimum wage of Tsh150, 000 . While politicians did not attend earlier workshops, the last UA stakeholder workshop to review progress on implementing the strategic plan in Kinondoni Municipality was officially opened by the mayor, a milestone in winning political support for urban farming.

The formalization process started with support from Sustainable Cities International and no funding from local government authorities, however, with growing awareness on the importance of UA, Dar es Salaam City Council funded a stakeholder consultation process to gather input to finalise the UA strategic plans; while Kinondoni Municipal Council funded soil suitability assessment, land clearing and water connection to the pilot project that settled Jitihada Garden Group at one of the zoned areas, the Kawe Gardens. The Dar es Salaam City Council produced a Citywide Strategic Plan on UA, combining all the 3 municipal strategies in September 2013. In collaboration with the Ministry of Lands Housing and Human Settlement Development, the city identified Urban Agriculture as one of the themes for the World Habitat Day on the 1st of October 2012, promoting UA as one of the successful livelihood opportunities that the city offers to its residents.

4.0 Lessons and conclusions

The preparation of Municipal Strategic Plans on UA in Dar es Salaam was informed by lengthy stakeholder engagement process relying on felt needs of farmers groups and expertise from national ministries and municipal officers. Where many institutions are involved for instance, 3 Municipal Councils in Dar es Salaam, an independent facilitator, a role played by SCI is vital in advising municipal councils during development of the strategic plans, but also facilitating stakeholder engagement and feedback on the draft plans. Stakeholder consultations and feedback sessions were useful to gather views about the plans and additionally secure resources for the exercises. While 2 stakeholder workshops were funded by SCI, DCC funded the workshop to discuss the implementation of strategic plans, realising that UA is important in reducing parcelling out of open spaces thereby contributing to the DCC Cities Alliance Program of cities without slums.

Many bureaucrats from local government authorities were initially unconvinced that urban agriculture is an efficient way to use urban land; however the stakeholder consultation meetings brought awareness on the importance of food security and more importantly, allowed farmers to utilize green belts and thereby protect open spaces from land parceling. The formalisation of UA was boosted by the establishment of the Tanzania Food Gardening Network that gave visibility and lobbies for farmers groups. Additionally, composting by the Kisiwani Environmental Group provided the much need compost for gardening.

Lastly UA is an important element of the urban landscape that provides sources of livelihoods to low income groups and fresh vegetables for the whole city. UA improves the urban landscape and in the Dar es Salaam case is an important way of reducing land invasion and subdivision. While UA does not pay the same land rent as residential, industry and commercial land uses, it is an inseparable requirement of sustainable urban development.

See the complete paper here. (9.5MB Docx format)