Urban Agriculture In The Seasonal Tropics Of Central Southern Africa
A Case Study Of Lusaka/Zambia
A.W. Drescher (PhD., Ass. Prof./Priv.-Doz.)
(C) Copyright 1997
Section on Applied Physiogeography of the Tropics and Subtropics (APT)
Hebelstrasse 27, D-79104 Freiburg, i. Br./ FRG
The original paper including figures (World 6.0 format) can be obtained by e-mail.
First presented at Urban Agriculture: A growing Development Tool: An International Policy Workshop, NRI/CPU, London, June 29, 1994
Second presented and modified at the International Conference on Sustainable Urban Food Systems, May 22-25, 1997, Ryerson Polytechnic University, Toronto, Canada.
Hunger and malnutrition in the world are increasing not only due to growing population and loss of yield but also caused by the destruction of natural plant resources and loss of food diversity. Past management strategies of Household Food Security often failed because they where based on the "macro-level" (governments, administrations, ministries). Therefore new strategies focus on the "micro-level" like the individual Household (Kampmann, 1992).
There is hardly any other field of investigation with such an urgent need for an interdisciplinary approach, as research on Household Food Security and Vulnerability. During 1992 and 1993 a research project on urban agriculture was carried out in Zambia's capital Lusaka, in peri-urban areas of Lusaka and rural areas of Zambia. The so called Household Garden Survey concentrated on the Household Garden activities as an important part of the landuse system, which seems to contribute significantly to Household Food Security. The agricultural activities in rainy season, where people mostly grow staple food crops, for example maize where also considered in the survey although these where not the primary objective. This paper focuses on the situation in Lusaka and gives some preliminary results of the survey. Main objective of the Household Garden Survey was to clarify the role of Household Gardens for Household Food Security in Zambia.
- To determine the role of Household Gardens for urban Households.
- To determine the contribution of the outputs of the garden to the diet and budget of the Household.
- To draw up an inventory of the main problems of a Household with the preservation of the Household Garden.
- To find out why certain Households are not able to garden and why others are.
Urban Development of Lusaka
Lusaka is one of the fastest growing cities in the developing world and had a population of 1.192 million inhabitants in 1991 (CSO, 1992). Since 1980 the population of Lusaka has nearly doubled. The growing rate between 1980 and 1990 is 6.1 %, and the population density is given with 2 728 persons per km2 (CSO, 1990).
Figure 1 shows the population development of Lusaka since 1950. (Not available here)
Only recently first steps where taken to get more interest in agriculture in urban centres. For Lusaka up to now no statistical material on Food Security is available. Therefore no information is available on agricultural production and yields nor in the urban centre neither in the peri-urban area.
Figure 1: Population Development of Lusaka/Zambia 1950 - 1993 (Not available here)
As figure 1 indicates, there will be a much higher need for food in Lusaka in the future. Simultaneously the build up area will increase and the agricultural land will decrease further. No Township of the western World would manage to handle growing rates of about 70.000 persons per year, neither with respect to housing, nor to education and infrastructure. How should the developing world be able to do so ?
Current nutritional situation of Zambia's population
Among all the counries in the Southern part of Africa Zambia shows very high rates of malnutrition. Previous studies indicate that malnutrition is greater in rural areas than in urban areas. Data from the Priority Survey confirm that the prevalence of underweight and stunted growth is higher in the rural areas, both indicators of chronic malnutrition. The prevalence of wasting however, indicating current poor nutritional status, is significantly higher in the urban population (NFNC, 1993 a, b).
Zambia has to deal with major health problems of which Protein Energy Malnutrition (PEM) is the most important with its prevalence, resulting morbidity and mortality and its long-term consequences. Iron deficiency (anaemia) is also a serious health problem as well as vitamin A deficiency (FAO, 1993). Vegetables from Household Gardens can contribute to the nutrition especially by their content of Vitamin A and micro-elements. In many cases gathered and domesticated indigenous vegetables are more nutritious than the introduced exotics (Table 1). In other cases gathered leaves might contain anti-nutritional factors which can be reduced, or removed, by appropriate processing and cooking (Redhead, 1985; FAO, 1981).
Table 1: Nutritional value of some widely grown or gathered vegetables