Urban Agriculture Notes

City Farmer: Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture

(with special reference to Africa)


by Luc J.A. Mougeot
© Copyright 1994
International Development Research Centre

Urban agriculture (UA), also called urban food production or urban farming, can be defined as the growing of food and nonfood plant and tree crops and the raising of livestock (cattle, fowl, fish, and so forth), both within (intra-) and on the fringe of (peri-) urban areas (Ganapathy, 1983; Ford Foundation 1993, as per Siau and Yurjevic, 1993: 45).

Horticulture is only one of the many farming systems, in any given city, for practising UA. UA is more than just the production of food and it is being recognised in most of the South and in at least some countries in the North as an integral part of urban food systems.

Other components of UA include:

Vennetier's 1958 survey of Pointe Noire, Congo, is often credited for having launched a new field of inquiry into urban farming in West Africa, and beyond: a sample of 1 013 households enabled him to estimate that UA was being practised by 30.6% of Pointe Noire's population (Vennetier, 1961: 84).

Ganapathy (1983) submitted a short, comprehensive, definition of the concept; Smit and Nasr (1992) developed a very complete typology of farming systems, based on observation in 40 cities and towns in 18 countries. Sawio's Ph.D. dissertation (1993) reviewed previous research on the rapidly evolving field of city farming in anglophone Africa.

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revised, June 12,1995

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