Urban and periurban agriculture can help solve these major food and ecological problems. According to the FAO, this type of agriculture provided food for around 700 million urban inhabitants in 2005, ie a quarter of the world's urban population. It supplies urban markets with a wide range of products, creates jobs and makes towns greener by virtue of fruit orchards and market gardens. However, urban agriculture is under many threats, such as competition for land between agricultural and residential or industrial uses, or the use of imports by food distribution groups and supermarkets.
Awareness of the issues involved in urban agriculture
It is vital that the local and national public authorities, private urban development players and the agricultural sector realize the issues involved in this type of farming. The aim is to reconcile the expectations of the various stakeholders, including urban inhabitants, who often have contradictory interests. To this end, CIRAD and its partners opted to implement three projects: Sustainable Development of Peri-urban Agriculture in South-East Asia Project (SUSPER) in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam from 2002 to 2005, the "supermarkets" component of the Making Markets Work Better for the Poor (M4P) Project in Vietnam from 2005 to 2006 and the workshop on Promoting Urban and Periurban Agriculture in West and Central Africa in Yaounde, Cameroon in late 2005, which was attended by various players interested in urban agriculture in Africa.
The results show that to ensure the sustainability of agricultural activity in and around urban areas, the various stakeholders, and primarily the town councils, need to realize the functions of this type of agriculture. It is also vital that urban agricultural producers, and their organization in the form of groups, be recognized by the authorities.
The Yaounde workshop was an opportunity to share African experiences: in Benin, talks between the government and the Cotonou communal producers' union have resulted in the allocation of 400 hectares to market garden farmers. In Uganda, the Mayor of Kampala passed by-laws in 2005 to allow urban inhabitants to farm and rear animals in the city. These various experiences prompted the Cameroonian farmers at the workshop to set up a coalition for the promotion of urban and periurban agriculture in Africa, with the support of local researchers. The coalition is intended to foster the often difficult dialogue between farmers and town councils on various subjects: job creation, access to food products for the most underprivileged, etc.
Technical solutions for commercial production
It is also necessary to improve the skills of the private- and public-sector staff involved in this type of agriculture, so as to ensure sustainable food supplies. The SUSPER project has enabled four Asian cities (Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Phnom Penh and Vientian) to respond better to local demand for vegetables and make the switch to commercial production. Technical solutions have been found in order to be able to respond to market opportunities and boost farmers' incomes (out-of-season production, etc). New sanitary quality certification systems have been tested, and an economical daily price information gathering and dissemination system has been developed to facilitate communication between producers and traders.
In Vietnam, the M4P project has enabled an assessment of the impact of supermarket development on poor populations, seen as both consumers and traders. Supermarkets only account for a small share of food distribution (less than 5%). However, they are expanding at a rate of more than 15% per year. This is having many adverse consequences for poor consumers, who have limited access due to the higher prices practised in supermarkets than on traditional markets, transport constraints and the number of jobs created, which is small compared to traditional markets and street sellers. Moreover, poor producers cannot supply supermarkets due to the demands they make in terms of consistency and quality and of the time they take to pay. However, certain producers' organizations allow small-scale producers to develop the taste and sanitary quality of their products and reward that quality with a seal of approval. This enables such producers to gain a foothold in the sector, ensuring higher, more stable incomes than traditional supply chains.
The increasing urbanization of agriculture means that the agricultural sector needs to be more professional and to look more closely at the requirements of urban inhabitants. It is increasingly necessary to raise awareness among urban authorities, for social, sanitary and land management reasons.
Helen Burford | alfa
Alkaline soil, sensible sensor
03.08.2017 | American Society of Agronomy
New 3-D model predicts best planting practices for farmers
26.06.2017 | Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
18.08.2017 | Life Sciences
18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences