Growing food in the cities: Successes and new opportunities
This Brussels briefing (PDF) by CTA discusses the development of urban agriculture in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, looking at successful urban agribusinesses and the innovations, partnerships and policy developments that are creating new opportunities in this field. Accelerated urbanisation is affecting economic, social and environmental dimensions and oblige us to rethink how cities are provisioned with food and water. The task of feeding cities will face multiple constraints in terms of unbalanced distribution and access, environmental degradation, resource scarcity and climate change, unsustainable production and consumption patterns, and food loss and waste. Urban and peri-urban agriculture offers opportunities for productive employment in a sector with low barriers to entry. Intensive horticultural and livestock products employs workers, but also has an multiplier effect, stimulating job creation in many other sectors. Priorities for policy makers for this development include: 1) Develop land use policies to enable (peri-)urban agriculture to be recognised; 2) Ensure water suplies are not contaminated; 3) Identify ways to incorporate private organisations. Many urban agriculture policies do not address commercial urban agriculture, agro-processing and value addition activities well. To be sustainable and attract youth, the sector needs further enterprise development, entrepreneurial skills development, improved processing and marketing capacity, access to finance, identification of lucrative markets. The greatest impact is achieved when a food system approach is advocated and support is provided to the entire network of city region producers, wholesalers, processors, caterers and shopkeepers. Support mechanisms include legal and regulatory instruments, setting of procurement standards and targets, zoning and agricultural land protection. Governments and the larger private sector can generate large buyer demand for city region products through their own public procurement. Businesses need better knowledge of the availability of local products. Consumer awareness and education are also needed on the benefits of city region food supply. It would be important to monitor the impacts of the various proposed policy measures once they are put in place.