Date Posted: October 9th, 2012
Growing urban centres have increased the demand for urban agriculture. And whether it’s families growing food for themselves on their rooftops or in their backyards, or farmers cultivating larger plots to sell food at local markets, urban agriculture is growing to meet the demand. Unfortunately, as this week’s story illustrates, the interests of urban farmers can clash with the interests of urban developers. In Cotonou, farmers’ livelihoods are threatened because they do not have formal agreements to protect themselves in the face of development.
You can read more about the conflicts and opportunities that have arisen along with the growing trend of urban agriculture in these past FRW news stories:
-“Guinea: Women profit from urban gardening” (FRW 210, July 2012)
-“Uganda: Finding space for urban farming” (FRW 164, July 2011)
-“Uganda: Urban farmers fight eviction” (FRW 72, June 2009)
-“Kenya: Urban agriculture greens metropolis” (FRW 40, October 2008)
-“Africa: Wastewater in urban agriculture is harmful to health, but it also ensures subsistence for urban poor” (FRW 34, August 2008)
-“Africa: Urban agriculture provides relief from high food prices” (FRW 23, June 2008)
Farm Radio International has also produced a number of scripts on urban agriculture, many of which offer suggestions for growing food in small spaces: http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/urban.asp
Finally, here are some questions to explore during a call-in/text-in show:
-Have members of your audience grown food in an urban area for a long period of time?
-How much food do they produce and what impact does this have on their family’s food security?
-What materials (such as organic fertilizer or planters) do they use to make growing food possible in very small spaces?
-Which crops grow best with the limited space and resources they have available?
-What tips or innovations can they share?
-Have urban farmers found their land reduced or threatened by urban development?
-If their growing space was reduced, how did they cope?
-If their land is threatened by urban development, what steps have they taken to protect it?