Urban Agriculture Notes

City Farmer: Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture

(with special reference to Africa)


4.8 The Spatial Distribution of Urban Agriculture

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

Well-tailored surveys consistently show that the area effectively under UA is very much greater than conventional land use classifications and maps may indicate.

Urban agriculture claimed the largest land use within the city boundaries of Waterloo, Canada, in 1981 (Dorney, 1990, cited by Sawio, 1993: 121). In Sheffield, England, nature gardens and allotments together cover 22% of the inner city area and City Council is encouraging the "green" redevelopment of a much larger central area (Carr and Lane, 1993: 10). There are still 28,000 ha being cropped in three delegations of the Federal District of Mexico; the Tlahuac delegation supplies one third of the eggs/milk produced in the district, while Tlalpan is ranked first in terms of acreage under oats, fodder and fresh maize (Brena, 1993: 149). Some 60% of Greater Bangkok was officially under UA in the 1980s (DGIP/UNDP, 1993: 4). A little more than half of the municipal area of Kampala is used for agriculture (Maxwell, 1994: 48). In Bamako, 1,550 ha available for UA are fertilized solely with domestic wastes (Diallo and Coulibaly, 1988: 30). Five cooperatives produced vegetables on 274 ha in Addis Ababa (Egziabher, 1994).

Reported areas often exclude forms of UA in hidden household spaces (individually small but collectively considerable). There is probably more UA in any city than meets the eye of conventional aerial photography; much UA, away from the easily observable crops on open-land surfaces, actually thrives under tree cover, in shelters or on roofed surfaces, on wall-shelves and fences, and in basements, or grazes other unbuilt land areas. When surveys are carried out in the dry season, rainfed crops are probably omitted.

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revised, June 12,1995

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