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Focus on... Urban agriculture: balancing risks and benefits

According to The State of the World Population 2007, recently published by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), "the growth of cities in the developing world is dynamic, diverse and disordered, and increasingly space-intensive." However, peri-urban areas often lack "clear regulations and administrative authority over landuse. These areas also suffer some of the worst consequences of urban growth, including pollution, rapid social change, poverty, landuse changes and degradation of natural resources."

The value of urban farmers is often undermined: farmers are evicted, dismissed, ignored and even condemned for promoting waste, pollution and illness within the city. But beyond its value as a survival strategy among the urban poor, there is growing evidence that urban farming increases the availability of fresh food, provides green spaces to combat pollution, and supports agritourism initiatives.

In the 07-2 edition of New Agriculturist, we focused on the growing global trend in urban horticulture to feed expanding city populations. In this issue, we take a deeper look at urban agriculture, including the political, social and health aspects of cultivating land and rearing livestock in a city environment. From China to Zimbabwe, this edition explores the current realities - as well as the likely future scenarios - of urban farming.

Value-adding to peri-urban dairy farming in Latin America

Value-adding to peri-urban dairy farming in Latin America

In the Altiplano, a high-altitude plain shared by Peru and Bolivia, several partner agencies are assisting in small-scale cheese production to increase income and income stability for poor dairy and potato farmers, and improve the availability of nutrient-rich dairy products to vulnerable groups.

Date published: July 2007

Roadside cultivation - a heavy metal health hazard?

Roadside cultivation - a heavy metal health hazard?

A study in Kampala has shown that some roadside crops, particularly leafy vegetables, contain dangerously high levels of heavy metal contamination. The findings have helped in the development of new ordinances for urban agriculture, to achieve the right balance between risks and benefits.

Date published: July 2007

Urban gardening for Tanzania's street children

Urban gardening for Tanzania's street children

Urban agriculture development programmes in Dar es Salaam are helping to improve the lives of the city's street children. Studies show gardening and livestock rearing are equipping youngsters on the margins of society with valuable new skills, while breaking down negative stereotypes held by the public.

Date published: July 2007

The greening of Beijing

The greening of Beijing

Despite its economic boom, Beijing continues to benefit from numerous green areas, including parks and urban farmland. But with pressure from more lucrative land uses, authorities are under pressure to make the city's green areas more economically competitive. A municipal programme is therefore supporting investment in urban agriculture and agro-tourism.

Date published: July 2007

Reviving urban farming in Zimbabwe

Reviving urban farming in Zimbabwe

Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city, is leading the way in support for urban agriculture. As the country faces critical food shortages, a multi-stakeholder forum has been established to identify problems, opportunities and policy issues, and to develop action plans to encourage farming in the city.

Date published: July 2007

Kenyan towns: putting agriculture into the plan

Kenyan towns: putting agriculture into the plan

Growing vegetables and rearing livestock have become an integral part of urban life in Kenya, but absence of proper planning is leading to increased environmental and health risks. A proposed national steering committee is to support the development of policy.

Date published: July 2007

 

 

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