Agricultural land in African peri-urban areas is increasingly exposed to urban encroachment. Since peri-urban areas have deep roots in cities’ food system, this might in turn affect their food security.
Elly N. Sabiiti and Constantine B. Katongole, two researchers from Makerere University, recently studied the role of peri-urban farming and peri-urban agriculture in Kampala’s food system. They show that the competition for land in peri-urban areas has contributed to a reduction of agricultural land, both in hectares and productivity.
Kampala has a current population of around 1.5 million and accommodates 25% of Uganda’s urban population. Food is a crucial issue for the city, especially as the bulk of the population is a net buyer of food and depends heavily on inflation. The impact of increasing food prices even more impacts Kampala’s urban poor who “spend more than half of their income on food purchases” (p:389).
As agricultural activities are more and more difficult to pursue within the inner zones of the city, due to limited land accessibility, peri urban areas thus have a greater role to play in ensuring food security.
But in a very classic monocentric model, Kampala extends and agricultural land prices are going up. “Farmers now compete for available land with urban-type developments” (p:390), such as housing, recreational facilities, and brick making activities. The latter has actually become a structuring income generative activity for Kampala. Yet, brick-making activities create artificial land prices on agricultural land, and generally degrade agricultural soils, as former brick making terrains are often characterized by low fertility.
Many farmers are therefore changing the use of their agricultural land or moving further away from the city, which eventually increases prices.
The authors conclude on the need to quantify and comment on the contribution of peri-urban agriculture. They are convinced this is the only way to raise public awareness on the issue, given the widespread public perception that that “agriculture and urbanisation are conflicting activities” (p:390).
Article available from Balanced Urban Development: Options and Strategies for Liveable Cities, Volume 72 of the series Water Science and Technology Library, pp 387-392, August 2016 [sub required]
|Publication Type||Book chapter|
|Publisher||Water Science and Technology Library|
|Author(s)||Elly N. Sabiiti and Constantine B. Katongole|