Urban Agriculture Notes

City Farmer: Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture

(with special reference to Africa)


3.2 Expansion of Urban Agriculture Outside Asia

3.2.2 Dar es Salaam - Tanzania

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

Economist Francis Lungu in Dar es Salaam (personal communication, 27 August 1993) thinks that, should structural adjustment policies ever succeed, UA would not necessarily subside; on the contrary, an increase in UA is very possible because of persisting unemployment, retrenched civil service, newcomers added yearly to the labour pool, sheer population growth, women at home resorting to UA, and a growing urban demand for abundant, regular and cheap supplies of good-quality food. The large and fast-growing city of Dar es Salaam in one of the continent s poorest countries illustrates Lungu's opinion. Similarly to most African countries, the Tanzanian gross domestic product (GDP) declined in real terms throughout the 1980s, from an average annual growth rate of 5.1% to less than 2.0%. This fall is attributed to falling export commodity prices, the collapse of the East African Community, war in Uganda, and successive droughts. Despite various survival, adjustment, recovery, and social action programs in the early 1980s, the per-capita income averaged 260 USD/year during the 1980s (DSM/ARDHI 1992: 4). The Arusha Declaration's emphasis on rural development did not slow the growth of Dar es Salaam: its population nearly doubled in 10 years to 1.4 million in 1988. Some 70% of its people now live in unplanned settlements and 75% of the households have to use pit latrines; less than 3% of the city s solid wastes are collected (DSM/ARDHI 1992: 5 6).

Satellite imagery reveals that as much as 23% of the city region is used for agricultural production, with nearly 34,000 ha under crops in 1988 (more than 500 ha in vegetable crops) (DSM/ARDHI 1992: 8). Data on other Tanzanian cities show a similar, if not larger, incidence of UA (Mosha 1991; Mvena et al. 1991). According to the 1988 census, UA ranked as Dar es Salaam's second largest employer, after small traders and labourers; it occupied 11% of the population aged 10 or more, and 20% of those employed, turning out about 100, 000 tons of food crops annually. People in Dar es Salaam are engaged on a large scale in what many other large African cities are increasingly documenting, if not trying to manage more fully.

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revised, June 12,1995

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