Tapping the potential of urban agriculture
Agricultural production is traditionally associated with rural areas. Consequently, urban,
and peri-urban agriculture plays only a subordinate role in urban development
plans, if at all. To achieve food security for all, especially with the continuing growth of
urban metropolises around the world, there is need to focus on the four dimensions of food security (availability, access, utilisation, and stability) in both rural and urban food systems.
In our projects, we examine the role of city planning, technological development,
and civic engagement in unlocking the potential of urban and peri-urban agriculture to contribute to food security in Africa. Together with our partners in Nairobi (Kenya) and Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), and with more locations to come, we provide evidence-based analysis on how to strengthen social and technological innovations across the food production, processing, and marketing chain.
An added advantage of linking food access to urban planning processes is the opportunity to expand employment and livelihood options for poor urban residents, as well as agribusinesses. Our work highlights, among other structural issues: rights-based approaches to land access in urban settings; the need to redesign agricultural extension systems for urban settings; and innovative use of green spaces and other communal assets to enhance sustainable food production in urban and peri-urban areas.
Through our focus on food system transformations, we seek to create an enabling environment for urban and peri-urban agriculture that is critical in strengthening resilience to threats such as climate change, or Covid-19. Ultimately, we aim to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and especially SDG1 (no poverty), SDG2 (zero hunger), SDG11 (sustainable cities and communities), and SDG17 (partnerships for the goals).