Urban Agriculture and Food Security: A Nine-City Assessment
Food security is a critical challenge in rapidly urbanizing, low-income regions of the world. Climate change is likely to increase disruptions to food availability and prices, further exacerbating food insecurity for the urban poor. Urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) can serve as an important food source for cities in the developing world, contributing to dietary diversity and economic activity. However, UPA systems are stressed by factors such as rapid urban growth, weak governance over land and water allocation, and pollution. Moreover, the potential of such systems to meet food security needs under changing climate conditions is not well understood. With support from USAID, USGCRP international funding, and international partners in research and policy, START (the global change SysTem for Analysis, Research, and Training) recently led an assessment effort focused on UPA and climate change in nine cities across Africa and South Asia.
The assessment reports examine UPA in the context of intensifying climate risks and increasing urban pressures on land and water resources, with the objective of identifying how these two drivers may interact to undermine long-term sustainability for UPA systems. This assessment effort employed a highly participatory approach to engage local stakeholders and was carried out by interdisciplinary teams of researchers in Dakar (Senegal), Tamale (Ghana), Ibadan (Nigeria), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Kampala (Uganda), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Kathmandu (Nepal), and Chennai (India). The assessment reports are intended to better inform city-based decision making about risk management for UPA, with direct implications for advancing broader planning efforts on urban adaptation and resilience.