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Africa: In Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon, recycled materials to grow food in the city

For J2D_Afrique, the solution lies in growing vegetables out of kits made up of old plastic bottles and rice sacks.

By Pierre Nka
Le Quotidien de l’économie
African Business Magazine
27 October 2017

Excerpt:

Given the scarcity of fertile land in the urban environment, urban agriculture using discarded plastic bottles has emerged as a potential alternative in Yaoundé, a city which is facing demographic pressure. “Young people come to the cities to look for work. It’s becoming urgent to build more housing and the pressure is such that the peri-urban areas are starting to disappear,” Kondzou explained.

His theory is clear: “when we speak about urbanisation, we’re talking about houses. Building houses means using concrete, and concrete is not good for agriculture.” While land that used to be cultivable is increasingly being paved over, there is no drop in the amount of food that needs to be produced.

For J2D_Afrique, the solution lies in growing vegetables out of kits made up of old plastic bottles and rice sacks. To produce the substrate required for this type of urban agriculture, soil is bought from the outskirts of Yaoundé at a cost of around 1,000 FCFA ($1.79) for a 50kg bag.

Plastic bottles are attached to each other with string, forming a ladder-like structure, which is hung upon the wall of a beneficiary’s house. As for the 50kg sacks, these are left in the outside corners of the house.

These sacks offer a competitive advantage when it comes to growing vegetables. Whereas an African eggplant seedling planted on a horizontal surface takes up around 1 sq metre, 24 seedlings can be arranged within a “sack garden” of 80 to 90cm by 1 sq metre.

Read the complete article here.