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RUAF: Urban Agriculture as a Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy


RUAF Urban Agriculture Magazine No. 27, March 2014

RUAF-Foundation (International network of Resource centres on Urban Agriculture and Food security)
March 2014


This issue is prepared with support of the UN Habitat Cities and Climate Change Initiative. It reports on the joint urban agriculture programme implemented by RUAF and UN Habitat. This issue also shares findings of a CDKN funded innovation project on monitoring urban agriculture impacts on climate change.

Cities and climate change are virtually inseparable. Cities are major contributors to Green House Gas (GHG) emissions and thus climate change.

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April 18, 2014   No Comments

In Uganda, Dr. Jolly Kabirizi has converted a small piece of land into a gold mine

Nutrition blocks help cows produce more milk. “I always make sure I offer the animals the best feeds in terms of quality and quantity,” Kabirizi says.

“Many people do not believe they can effectively rear five cows under zero grazing, feeding them on specially prepared grass.”

By Joshua Kato
New Vision
Mar 26, 2014


It is difficult to believe there is a profi table agricultural enterprise inside this enclosed homestead in Seguku. The farm is located in an urban setting on less than 20 decimals of land. The same space is also occupied by nine houses, most of them for rent. Many people in urban areas have this kind of space, but regard it as useless. Not so for Dr. Jolly Kabirizi who has converted a small piece of land into a gold mine.

There are currently five cows at the backyard farm, all Friesians for milk production. Initially, Kabirizi was rearing over 20 goats. “I would have taken my cows to the village where I have bigger land. However, I wanted to live with and monitor their development,” she says.

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April 2, 2014   Comments Off

Backyard gardening initiative in Mariental, Namibia, Africa

Hardap Regional Governor Katrina Hanse-Himarwa. Mariental is a city of 10,000 inhabitants in south-central Namibia.

“A hungry man is a sick man. A hungry man is an angry man.”

By Hoandi !Gaeb
New Era


More than a hundred residents of Mariental assembled at the Aimablaagte community hall on Sunday to register for participation in a backyard gardening initiative proposed by Hardap Regional Governor Katrina Hanse-Himarwa.

The residents, who will be the first to receive assistance from the government in the form of seeds and other requisite inputs for successful backyard gardening, were informed that most of the preparatory work for the gardening project should be in place before the end of May, when the official launch is envisaged to take place.

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March 26, 2014   Comments Off

‘Urban Gardens for Survival’ in Harare, Zimbabwe

A mother picking vegetables in a successful garden.

A small Scottish based charity, ROKPA UK has helped support small scale local gardening projects for disadvantaged households in Harare over the past 20 years.

By Mary Gillies

Just as gardeners in Canada are growing their seedlings and preparing for the summer months, food insecurity in much of Zimbabwe is reaching crisis proportion. With current unemployment levels at 78% most families cannot afford the increasingly expensive cost of foodstuffs which now have to be imported, given the failure of many farms in Zimbabwe.

A small Scottish based charity, ROKPA UK has helped support small scale local gardening projects for disadvantaged households in Harare over the past 20 years. Presently 13 such successful ‘allotment’ garden projects have been established in the suburbs of Harare, each supporting on average 25 households. The vegetables from these gardens are often the only food these families survive on throughout the year. Any surplus produce is sold at the local markets to cover other basic necessities.

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March 11, 2014   Comments Off

Student Farmers in Liberia Get Back to the Soil and Into the Classroom

Students in the Back-to-School Garden initiative in Grand Bassa county, Liberia.

Due to the success of the Back-to-School Garden initiative in Grand Bassa county, FED and partners will expand the program’s reach to five more counties in 2014: Margibi, Montserrado, Nimba, Bong, and Lofa.

By Nicholas Parkinson
Good Food World
February 21st, 2014


There was a time before Liberia’s civil wars when agriculture was an integral part of the education system. All the way back to 1960, the Liberian Ministry of Education and Ministry of Agriculture—with US government financial aid—partnered with US Peace Corps volunteers and created the country’s first 4-H Club in Maryland county, southeast Liberia.

Thirty years later, there were some 27,000 4-H Club members in 1,950 clubs and nearly as many gardens. Then the country erupted in civil strife.

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February 26, 2014   Comments Off

Air-cooler’s water can produce crops and vegetables – an Accra, Ghana experience


Ductless air conditioners are capable of producing 60-100 litre of cool water in 24 hours time

By Dr.Mohemmed Habibur Rahman, Professor of Pathology, Department of Pathology, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh, Bangladesh
At present: School of Veterinary Medicine, College of Agriculture and Consumer Science, University of Ghana, Legon, Accra, Ghana. P.O.Box: LG 586, Legon
All photos by Dr.Mohemmed Habibur Rahman.
February 2014

I have been living in the west Legon neighborhood of Accra, capital of Ghana but found very little vegetation around. Accra has had an extremely hot and humid climate. For example, the high temperature averages above 30 °C, and humidity levels reach 80% June through September. This year, it is very exception. There was little rain and I found only four day short showers in the last six months. Grasses have turned gray and bone dry. Water is indeed scarce in supply. Municipal drains are also dry. Infrequent water supply caused supply of drinking water as a lucrative business. A bottle of water measuring 1.5 litre is sold at GHS 2.5, which is equivalent to one US $. The water sold in sauces is not cheap as well. 20 paise can buy a litre. Thus, there is no water to grow vegetable in the inner city and to get green vegetable is also difficult.

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February 18, 2014   Comments Off

Freetown, Sierra Leone, BIBWEG-Backyard Farmers


BIBWEG Farmers Celebrate 8th Anniversary

By Issa Mansaray
New Citizen
Freetown, Sierra Leone

The BIBWEG-Backyard Farmers in Sierra Leone on Sunday 2nd February celebrated their eighth anniversary at the BIBWEG Backyard Farmer’s Resource Center, Gloucester community in the Western Urban Area.

The motto of the organization is “Everything Starts With Food” for which the organization supports farmers all over the world. Over 80 farmers and community elders attended the ceremony.

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February 13, 2014   Comments Off

Nutrition-focused home garden design in Rwanda, Africa


Gardens for Health International (GHI) works in Rwanda to provide lasting agricultural solutions to chronic malnutrition

Internal Report: November 2013
Gardens for Health International, Boston MA 02110


Our approach to home garden design is focused on giving families the tools that will best empower them to achieve
greater nutrient security. l. To this end, we provide inputs and promote practices that are low-risk, self replicable, and focused on building healthy systems. While the primary objective of our home garden package is to improve quantity and quality of household consumption, we recognize that over time and appropriately designed and maintained garden can be an important source of income for families in our program.

Our home garden package is the core deliverable that we provide to families enrolled in our program. It is comprised of four basic parts: three seasons of seeds and seedlings,13 weeks of agricultural education, regular home visits and 13 weeks of health education. Its objective is to:

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February 12, 2014   Comments Off

‘Queen of urban farming’ makes money from Nairobi’s plastic eyesore


She has already trained 50 people who have set up more than 500 plastic gardens.

Written by Victor Amadala


Nairobi, Kenya: Behind rows of succulent tomatoes and towering onions planted in plastics in Nairobi’s Mathare slum, is the story of one woman’s resolve to rid the area of plastic eyesore that has not only solved the environmental menace in the area but saving her from from erratic commodity prices. It is estimated that 25percent of the 1500 tonnes of solid waste collected in Nairobi alone is plastic

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February 10, 2014   Comments Off

Urban farms in Lagos – a feasible proposal?


Serve as some kind of welfare scheme focusing on the city’s poorest. Produce from the farms could be dedicated to feeding projects for slum inhabitants or the homeless.

By Tolu Ogunlesi
Jan 31, 2014
Tolu has written for the Financial Times, Al Jazeera, the UK Guardian, and In 2009 he was awarded a CNN/Multichoice African Journalism Award.


How about if, for example, the state government mandated the city’s growing number of high-rises to reserve their rooftops for use as gardens? Lagos is still a very ‘low-rise’ city, and over the next decade we will be seeing remarkable transformation (it’s already started), as high-rises replace all those bungalows and storey-buildings. Just what if all of those rising blocks were designed to be ‘capped’ with rooftop farms?

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February 9, 2014   Comments Off

RUAF – Resource Centres on Urban Agriculture – Update # 20

Photo by Remi Kahane, taken in October 2011 in Maputo green belt, Mozambique. These often flooded areas are not only food productive, but have also a social role, employing people, stimulating exchanges and discussions, where issues on environment, practices and nutrition can be addressed in common. Click on image for larger version.

Kathmandu Metropolitan City also allocated around 30,000US$ for a rooftop garden programme

Update # 20
International Network of Resource Centres on Urban Agriculture and Food Security
January 2014

Excerpts from RUAF Update:

Integrating urban agriculture in city climate change strategies

As part of this joint UN Habitat-RUAF project, a policy workshop on “Rooftop gardening as an environmental and climate change strategy” was organised in Kathmandu, Nepal December 19, 2013. The workshop counted with participation of local policy makers, NGOs, research organisations, RUAF and UN Habitat Nepal. A draft rooftop gardening policy was discussed and submitted in January 2014 to a municipal council meeting for approval. Kathmandu Metropolitan City also allocated around 30,000US$ for a rooftop garden programme for the upcoming fiscal year 2014/2015.

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February 5, 2014   Comments Off

East Africa’s urban families fight food shortages with city gardens

Urban Farming in Nairobi Video by Kiberia TV. Director Midred Odongo. (Must see. Mike)

For Mugira, the two metres in front of his house can accommodate eight sacks, meaning a full supply of kale for a year. A bunch of kales, which forms the staple food for many of the Ugandan city dwellers, costs Ugsh300.

Written by Bob Koigi
10 January 2013


Wimaka Theuri, a resident of Nairobi’s Githurai area navigates through towering lushes of maize to water his onions and cabbages in a small oasis, barely bigger than a basketball field, that has not only provided food for the family but an alternative source of income at a time when escalating food prices in East Africa have hit urban dwellers the most. The former banker is one of an increasing number of people in major towns of East Africa who are worried about the rising cost of food and have decided to try to do something about it.

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January 29, 2014   Comments Off

Oranjezicht City Farm in Cape Town, S. Africa – Organic urban farming in the city

Photographer: Coco van Oppens from the OZCF Fresh Produce Market website. Click on image for larger photo.

What could get more quirky than strolling between rows of farm vegetables, herbs and salads on a Saturday morning slap bang in the middle of Cape Town city hand picking fresh, organic food right out of the soil in Oranjezicht?

By ShowMe Cape Town
Jan 21, 2014


The Oranjezicht City Farm is just that; where you will find Cape Town citizens & tourists crouching down amongst rows of rocket, spinach, lettuce & spring onions filling their baskets with fresh organic vegetables.

The concept is simple – grab a basket & scissors and cut what you need from the rows that are ready to harvest, get them weighed and pay your due.

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January 29, 2014   Comments Off

Facilitating outcomes: multi-stakeholder processes for influencing policy change on urban agriculture in selected West African and South Asian cities.


Three cities in West Africa (Accra [Ghana]; Freetown [Sierra Leone]; and Ibadan [Nigeria]) and two cities in South Asia (Gampaha [Sri Lanka] and Magadi [Karnataka, India]

By Amerasinghe, P.; Cofie, O. O.; Larbi, T. O.; Drechsel, P. 2013. Colombo, Sri Lanka: International Water Management Institute (IWMI). 34p.
(IWMI Research Report 153)


The Multi-stakeholder Policy Formulation and Action Planning approach was applied in the context of a multi-city study to influence and/or change policies that govern urban agriculture practices in three African and two Asian countries. Although the approach was successful and resulted in remarkable outcomes, it showed space for improvement to facilitate its application. The study also showed that there are significant regional differences in how best to achieve policy change, which require careful attention in order to achieve the highest returns on investment in the facilitation of impact pathways.

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January 26, 2014   Comments Off

Uganda kitchen gardening: An innovative way to use space

Okaba in her kitchen garden, which is set up in the Mandara style. Photo By Ephraim Kasozi.

Even without enough land, it is still possible for a farmer to produce for both their households and the market.

By Ephraim Kasozi
Daily Monitor
Jan 8, 2014


At 60 years of age, due to age, Joyce Okaba is unable to cultivate a large area of land but she earns her living through kitchen gardening.
Her home in Otina village, Agwata Sub County in Dokolo District, has different gardens with vegetables and a pit for preparing manure.

Since November 2011, she has been growing vegetables for both domestic use and market from the five small gardens around her home to earn a living.

“I earn up to Shs200,000 from the sale of my produce. I usually sell from home to the communities. I also help my neighbours to learn the practice and make fertilisers,” she says.

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January 14, 2014   Comments Off