Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Growing crops in towns: a response to the challenges of urbanization

22.12.2006
By 2025, half the population in Asia and Africa will be living in urban areas. This urban population explosion in developing countries has set major challenges for the towns involved, such as growing food requirements and increased waste and effluent production. Moreover, as a result of migration, urban poverty is growing. The most underprivileged have great difficulty finding the food they need.

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
Further information:
http://www.cirad.fr/en/actualite/communique.php?id=587

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Trees and climate change: Faster growth, lighter wood
14.08.2018 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Animals and fungi enhance the performance of forests
01.08.2018 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>