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Urban Horticulture



Agricultures et développement urbain en Afrique de l’Ouest et du Centre (CIRAD)

Commission on Landscape and Urban Horticulture (ISHS)

ETC-Urban Agriculture

FAO Food for the Cities (FCIT)

Growing Greener Cities (FAO's Programme for Urban and Peri-Urban Horticulture)

IndigenoVeg  A network to promote the sustainable production of indigenous vegetables through urban and peri-urban agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa. 

Institut Africain de Gestion Urbaine (IAGU)  L’IAGU est une ONG internationale spécialisée dans la recherche-développement, l’appui technique, la formation et l’information.

Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI)

MetroAg Action Learning Network

RUAF Foundation: Resource Centres on Urban Agriculture & Food Security.  The RUAF Foundation is currently constituted by 1 international and 7 regional partners: ETC Foundation (the Netherlands); IPES-Promoción Desarrollo Sostenible (Peru), the International Water Management Institute IWMI (India and Ghana); Institut Africain de Gestion Urbaine IAGU (Senegal); Municipal Development Partnership MDP (Zimbabwe); the Environment and Sustainable Development Unit of the American University of Beirut, AUB/ESDU (Lebanon) and the Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research of the Chinese Academy of Sciences IGSNRR (China). The Urban Agriculture Network - TUAN

Urban Harvest  CGIAR's system-wide initiative to direct and coordinate the collective knowledge and technologies of the Future Harvest Centers towards strengthening urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA).

Learning and Teaching

Collective Roots

Urban Agriculture Courses Ryerson University


Acta Horticulturae: ISHS Commission on Landscape and Urban Horticulture

City Farmer News

Etat des recherches sur l'agriculture périurbaine en France. 2007. Rapport INRA-SAD, UMR 951 Innovation, équipe Innovations Territoriales par B. Sabatier

RUAF Publications

Urban Agriculture Magazine Published by RUAF. Back issues are available at website. 

Villes Agricoles: Le Bulletin Trimestriel de l'Agriculture Urbaine

Web Links of Interest

Botanical Gardens Conservation International (BGCI)

From the Ground Up: Organic Gardening Fuels a Food Revolution  A quiet revolution is pulsing through the huge residential areas spread out on the edges of Cape Town.  An AllAfrica special festure, illustrated with video clips and photo galleries, provides coverage on a movement fuelled by vegetables and led by grandmothers

Urban and Peri-Urban Horticulture in Namibia


Please go to the horticultural events section for upcoming events.

Julien Custot, Food for the Cities Coordinator at FAO, Gives Farewell Speech


Dear colleagues,
I’ve been in FAO just a bit more than 4 years, seconded by France to work in FAO on urban issues, bridging the gap between the ministries in charge of cities and of agriculture. I’m now about to go back to France to work as Secretary General of the New Town Development Corporation of Sénart just 35 kilometers South of Paris to do territorial planning and real estate development
Before leaving Rome, I’ll make a last walk, or run, on Via Appia Antica, one of the many magic places of Rome. Working on “Food for the Cities” requires to do some advocacy, even sometimes some preaching! But, unlike San Pietro, I will not come back to Rome for my martyrdom! I’ve done my part of the job. I now leave it to others to follow.
“Food for the Cities” has been first and foremost a human experience. I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with great people, inside and outside FAO.
The first two people I met at FAO were Alexander Müller and Paul Munro-Faure. I explained them that I wanted to work on urban issues. They then gave me the “food for the cities” documents ! It was more than I could have dreamt about ! In the afternoon, I had a phone call of a French lady, very excited, enthusiastic, mentioning in one minute more people I will be able to meet in one month: you should have recognized Florence Egal! Paul is still there, and I thank him warmly for having supported my activities, provided guidance, and given me some freedom for action while sometimes coming in my office asking me – with the kindest British style – to try not to send provocative emails. Both Florence and Alexander, for different reasons, have not been given the opportunity to stay : too bad! Everyone will make its own judgment on the way it went. Some other people have left FAO, as Rémi Kahane. Some others have left our World: Michelle Gauthier and Jacky Ganry, 2 of the most committed and visionary people I’ve had the opportunity to work with. I just want to quote some African people who have been writing for Michelle : “Que la terre leur soit légère”.
I also want to thanks particularly Luciana Colella Iarussi, Manila Palmisano, Vivienne Ledgerwood and Saba Worku for having supported and helped. My work in FAO has been, for most of the time, a common experience with Francesca Gianfelici. With limited budget, if any, we had to find ways to survive! What would FAO be without the consultants? We experienced land tenure issues with expropriation from several offices, not always with compensation! Nonetheless, we managed to build up the food-for-cities community, publish a position paper, organize 2 workshops and various meetings, for instance during the World Urban Fora. While thinking on how to better address the urban-rural linkages, we had various ideas to make FAO work better, not just on public-private partnership and South-South cooperation.
As “Food for the Cities” has had limited budget, with small ups and a long down, started about 2 years ago, people joined on voluntary basis. Therefore, I was only in contact with the people willing to contribute to interdisciplinary, interdepartmental, cross-cutting, adhocracy kind of work. They are many! Basically, it is this community – about 200 people in FAO - that I’ve invited today. All allied to fight hunger and malnutrition.
However, and hopefully, I’ve not been too much in contact with the people staying hidden behind their locked doors! Who knows what they’re doing behind? Inserting “urbanization” in the executive summary of documents to attract donors? Developing smart models that have no real connections with reality but supporting the only currently accepted ideology of our time, fee trade? Or managing confidentially multi-million dollars projects, sometimes with dangerous liaisons with the donors and Member States? Strangely, many nice and open minded people become narrow minded regarding their work and activities at FAO. I tend to think that FAO is therefore its own and worst enemy. One of the challenges at corporate level is to look at the problem as they are really, not as we would like them to be.
Outside FAO, I’ve been in contact with many, many, many great people, from the public sector, academics, civil society, and some few from the private sector. Most of all, we have people from all over the World, and people at all levels of practice or responsibility. Most of them are now connected with the list which has more than 2300 members. Do keep this network lively! I will stay on it, as a simple user.
In this context, it has been a interesting and exciting challenge to work to address the urbanization challenges for food, agriculture and management of natural resources. During my time in FAO, we have not really invented something new, but we contributed to bring back the urban-rural linkages in the food and agriculture as well as in the urban agenda. We have then promoted the city-region food system approach, giving a key role to local authorities, not against National policies but in conjunction with them. Sustainable diets, right to food, biodiversity, gender, multi-functionality then fit into and support this approach.
The approach is simple and, to talk like an economist, the model is powerful. It’s not a “one size fits all”. The key idea is that each city-region, with its various local authorities, brings food and agriculture back in the public agenda. It took time to convince me but now I strongly support the idea of local food policy councils. A local food policy is foremost a strong local political commitment. Should the food be local? Should we eat less meat ? As local as possible, with not more meat than needed! It goes against the consumption trend and the desires of the people expressed in various surveys, while economist may call it protectionism. But the observed trends and desires aren’t just marketing constructions? Can we accept rich to be slim while poor get fat, all over the World. People have to wake up. Rich and poor, in high, medium and high income countries, have strong common interests when it comes to food. At one of the side event of the last CFS, it was said that FAO is there to be the voice of the people: with “Food for the Cities”, we can make it real.
FAO is in a unique position to address the challenges of the city-region food systems, at local level and global level. Discussions started by Alexander Müller may provide a support of a big country for a project work in 3 pilot city-regions, develop a methodology, disseminate it and network. The opportunities seem more open than ever! I wish good luck to Makiko Taguchi to whom I’m passing the baton for most of my activities! If I have 2 advices it would be : first, make sure to keep the systemic approach of the city-region food system; second, keep the process as open and inclusive as possible. I hope that it will provide the opportunity to really work as “UN as one” with a strong coordination with the Rome based agencies, as well as UN-Habitat and UNEP. Discussions are now advanced with associations of local authorities: it’s now time to develop official partnerships. Local authorities should also get official recognition to participate to the FAO governing body, first of all the CFS.


New Book: CITYFOOD; Linking Cities on Urban Agriculture and Urban Food Systems

CITYFOOD:  Linking Cities on Urban Agriculture and Urban Food Systems. Author: Marielle Dubbeling from RUAF and the content comes from RUAF's experience as well as from ICLEI's experience (in particular the Resilient Urban Food Systems Forum part of the Resilient Cities 2013 congress) and various further sources.

This is a collection of arguments why city-region food systems are essential, recommendations and cases, as well as the announcement of the joint ICLEI/RUAF initiative, CITYFOOD, to further link cities among themselves but also with research, governments etc.

Special Issue of The New Agriculturist Focuses on Urban Agriculture

Over the next ten years, the number of urban dwellers in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to grow by almost 45 per cent from 320 to 460 million people and by 2050, more than half of the developing world's population (3.5 billion people) is projected to be living in urban areas. Urban agriculture is being increasingly recognised as an important strategy to respond to a number of key challenges - including poverty, food security and nutrition, unemployment and the management of wastes and wastewater.

In this edition the focus is on a number of initiatives that are working with governments and urban farmers to remove barriers and provide incentives, inputs and training in order to empower the poor and contribute to their food security and nutrition. Topics covered include the formation of urban agriculture policies in Liberia, urban dairying in Kenya and composting and micro-gardening in Senegal, farmer field schools in Sri Lanka and the use of wastewater in Tunisia.


Peri-urban Vegetable Production Promising for Young People In Africa

AVRDC - The World Vegetable Center August 15, 2013 newsletter, Fresh: News from AVRDC,  focuses on the role of African youth in vegetable production.  "Training urban youth to grow and market vegetables will produce employment, income and a more nutritious food."

Regional workshop on strengthening urban and peri-urban agriculture towards resilient food systems in Asia

A Regional workshop on strengthening urban and peri-urban agriculture towards resilient food systems in Asia organized by FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (RAP), Bangkok in collaboration with P.N. Agricultural Science Foundation was held from 28-30 January 2013 at Bangkok, Thailand.
The proceedings of the workshop have been published in 2 Volumes namely:
Volume I: Key notes, country presentations and recommendations
Volume II: Case studies, best practices and field studies
These may be downloaded from the following link:

Horticulture feeds Democratic Republic of Congo cities

What used to be considered wasteland – patches alongside roads, streams or between houses – has become a new food basket for cities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, thanks to an FAO project that shows how urban and peri-urban horticulture can have a profoundly positive effect on national food security. Many of the thousands of gardeners who participate in the FAO “Growing Greener Cities” project in five cities of DR Congo were once considered “squatters,” using land they did not own to grow vegetables for their families. But a decade of expanding support from FAO has helped them legalize their activities and improve their farming techniques. Participants have not only improved family nutrition and made money from selling their surpluses at local markets. They also supply urban supermarkets, restaurants and hotels. In the capital city of Kinshasa alone, they produce 80 000 to 100 000 tonnes of vegetables a year from gardens in and around the city.


NeBambi Lutaladio est interviewé par PAEPARD sur le rapport « Pour des Villes plus Vertes en Afrique »

Pour des villes plus vertes en Afrique.
© FAO 2012, 116 pages.

Le présent rapport appelle l’attention des décideurs sur l’horticulture urbaine et périurbaine et sur les moyens qui peuvent contribuer à rendre davantage les villes plus vertes en Afrique. La production de fruits et légumes dans les zones urbaines et périurbaines présente un avantage comparatif indéniable par rapport aux zones rurales et autres origines pour l’approvisionnement des villes en produits frais et nutritifs – mais extrêmement périssables – tout au long de l’année.
Elle permet de créer des emplois locaux, de réduire les coûts de transport des aliments et la pollution, de réaliser des ceintures vertes autour des villes et de recycler les déchets urbains pour en faire des ressources productives.

La 12e réunion du conseil d'administration de GlobalHort a donné  PAEPARD l'occasion d'interviewer le président du comité de rédaction de cette publication: NeBambi Lutaladio, FAO Département de l'Agriculture et de la Protection des consommateurs.

NeBambi Lutaladio a également contribué à la participation de la FAO dans l'Atelier de definition et de validation de la recherche sur les questions de la filière maraîchère en Afrique Centrale. 23, 24 et 25 Janvier 2013. Brazzaville, Congo.
a) Dans une première entrevue NeBambi Lutaladio explique pourquoi cette publication n'a pas utilisé un langage scientifique et d'autre part comment elle peut aider à réorienter la recherche.
b) Dans une deuxième entrevue NeBambi Lutaladio explique comment l'horticulture urbaine peut contribuer à atténuer le changement climatique en Afrique.
c) Dans une troisième entrevue NeBambi Lutaladio exprime sa satisfaction de l'Approche Utilisateurs de la Recherche menée par le PAEPARD. Cette approche a conduit la PROPAC à identifier l'horticulture urbaine comme un thème fédérateur pour le Cameroun, la RDC et la République du Congo autour duquel peuvent être créés des consortia multipartite orientés vers la recherche .

GlobalHort attends workshop on vegetable sector in Central Africa, Brazzaville, Jan. 23-25, 2013

Recherche Agricole pour le Développement et renforcement de la chaîne de valeurs dans la filière maraichère en Afrique Centrale  = Agricultural research for the development and strengthening of the vegetable value chain in Central Africa 23, 24 and 25 January 2013. Brazzaville. Congo. Workshop organized by PROPAC (Plateforme Sous-Régionale des Organisations Paysannes d'Afrique Centrale)


New Book: Cities and Biodiversity Outlook: Action and Policy

CBO – Action and Policy provides the summary of a global assessment of the links between urbanization, biodiversity, and ecosystem services. Drawing on contributions from more than 120 scientists and policy-makers from around the world, it summarizes how urbanization affects biodiversity and ecosystem services and presents 10 key messages for strengthening conservation and sustainable use of natural resources in an urban context. It also showcases best practices and lessons learned, and provides information on how to incorporate the topics of biodiversity and ecosystem services into urban agendas and policies.


CBO – Action and Policy emphasize challenges and opportunities in rapidly urbanizing developing countries. A workshop in Cape Town in February 2012 was specifically organized to bring together urban planners, policymakers and scientists from many different African countries to inform about current and future urban developments in Africa.The Aichi Biodiversity Targets (see Appendix 1) highlighted throughout the key messages reinforce the mission of the CBD’s Strategic Plan to “take effective and urgent action to halt the loss of biodiversity.”


This volume was developed in parallel with and builds upon the more detailed scientific analysis and assessment titled Global Urbanization, Biodiversity, and Ecosystems – Challenges and Opportunities, scheduled to be published in 2013. Both publications are a collaborative effort of the CBD and the Stockholm Resilience Centre of Stockholm University, with significant input from ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability.


The material reviewed here is evidence-based, tested, and in the public domain. For ease of readability, references are limited. A more complete list of references along with a glossary will be found in the scientific analysis and assessment.


Modeled upon the CBD’s flagship publication, Global Biodiversity Outlook, the production of CBO – Action and Policy has been highly inclusive. Two separate drafts were widely circulated for review before publication. An Inter-Agency Task-Force and an Advisory Group, as well as the Global Partnership on Local and Sub-National Action for Biodiversity, provided valuable oversight of the entire process.


CBO – Action and Policy was officially launched at the Cities for Life Summit parallel to the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD in October 2012.


The full text of Cities and Biodiversity Outlook is available online at




New Book: Growing Greener Cities in Africa

This report highlights a key component of sustainable urban developmentcover – urban and peri-urban horticulture (UPH). Based on an Africa-wide survey and on case studies prepared by national experts, the report reviews the current state of UPH in cities across the continent. It presents major findings, profiles of urban and peri-urban horticulture in 22 countries, and recommendations for the development of market gardens to serve Africa's rapidly growing urban population.


This report represents the output generated from the first symposium of Dakar on Urban and Peri-Urban Horticulture, an output that calls other ones in 4-5 years to make another assessment of UPH in African cities, with improved methodologies and more accurate data, and compare with the first assessment. This is an answer to those requesting a formal description of UPH prior to any regulation and legal action to consider all the stakeholders involved in and the services provided by UPH.


Review article, "Africa: Feeding the Rising Urban Population" in BBC News Business by James Melik (Sept. 12, 2012)



New training handbook: On-farm practices for the safe use of wastewater in urban and peri-urban horticulture

In low income countries  wastewater treatment does not always work and, in consequence, water in and around the cities is heavily polluted. Peri-urban farmers often use these waters to irrigate their crops with obvious health and environmental risks!  Using safe irrigation practices becomes then essential  to ensure the safety of farmers and consumers.
This training handbook is a field guide for training urban and peri-urban farmers in these safe practices. The handbook was developed based on Ghanaian experiences and is, therefore, more applicable in countries with similar conditions, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. 


   Download the handbook at
   Learn more at




New Book: African indigenous vegetables in urban agriculture

By Shackleton, Pasquini and Drescher 

Published by Earthscan
2009, 326pp, ISBN 978 1 84407 715 1(Pb), £24.95
Until recently, the growing of crops in towns and cities has frequently provoked a harsh response from municipal authorities, unable to change the mindset that farming belongs on farms. Thankfully, that situation is now changing, as planners realise the benefits that urban farming can bring, not just to farmers and consumers but to the city itself. As a means for waste and nutrient recycling, a sink for rainwater, and generally making cities cooler, prettier and more pleasant to be in, urban crops have much to offer. So too, for African cities, do indigenous African vegetables, such as the vitamin rich and drought tolerant Amaranth. Combining these virtues, by encouraging indigenous vegetable cultivation in urban areas seems, therefore, like excellent sense.
For policy makers who are convinced by this comprehensive and timely review, various priorities are highlighted, including: full integration of agriculture into urban planning; support for marketing and input systems; and inclusion of urban farming in gender, heritage and conservation programmes. For researchers, urgent work is needed to examine: pest tolerance and water use efficiency of indigenous vegetables; the safety of vegetable growing with wastewater; and possibilities for adding value to indigenous vegetables or finding niche markets for them.

Le Monde has published an article during the World Urban Forum In Naples

Cultiver des légumes dans les bidonvilles pour nourrir l'Afrique

Article publié le 05 Septembre 2012
Par Sophie Landrin

Source : LE MONDE
Taille de l'article : 813 mots

  Extrait :

Face à l'urbanisation, les Nations unies appellent pays du Nord et du Sud à développer l'agriculture dans les villes. Aux portes de Nairobi, à Kibera, l'un des plus grands bidonvilles d'Afrique avec plus d'un million d'habitants, de petits jardins potagers ont poussé hors sol, abrités dans des sacs résistants. Les familles les plus pauvres y cultivent des choux ou des épinards, légumes à très forte capacité nutritive, notamment pour leur apport en fer. Ces jardinières en sac, imaginées par l'association caritative Solidarités International, sont économes en eau grâce à un mélange de pierre et de terre. Elles ont nourri, depuis 2007, 225 000 personnes dans quatre bidonvilles de la capitale kényane.


Cities: A Helping Hand for the Urban Poor

IRIN global has published this article on their website in preparation for the  World Urban Forum in Naples.

The article discusses the two major studies that were launched to coincide with the Forum to explore issues concerning the urban poor. Both focus on the role of local governments and community initiatives in shaping sustainable policies for poor urban dwellers: Growing Greener Cities in Africa, a report from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO); and the Making Cities Resilient Report 2012, produced by the London-based International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) for the UN Office for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR).


Women proud of their family gardens: A FAO Honduran pilot study

The Pilot Project for the Strengthening of Urban and PeriurbanThe gardens were established in colonies located in peri-urban areas. Planting an average of 9 different species, thus achieving diversity in family's diets has been achieved. The availability of spaces for the sowing of vegetables is minimal in the homes of these people, was achieved establishing gardens of 8 meters km2 (on average) in different recyclable containers (old car tires, pots in disuse, and all available home containers) Agriculture and the Food Security in the Municipality of the Central District (MDC) is driven by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Mayorship of the MDC. It constitutes a pioneering experience in Honduras, whose objective is to contribute to the food and nutrition security of the populations in situations of extreme poverty. In this case, they are coming from the periurban zones of the Central District of the Department of Francisco Morazán. The project aims at developing the human capital, strengthening the production, commercialization and processing of horticultural products, and improving family income.

A pilot study took place from November 2010 until December 2011, during which time opportunities for solutions to the problem of food access on the part of the most vulnerable families of the MDC were assessed. The set-up of a training network on periurban agriculture in the neighborhood of the MDC was commenced and later analyzed to determine the possibility of its extension in the urban areas, in support of the food and nutrition security as part of the Special Program of Food Security (WEIGHT) and within the framework of the Strategy for the Reduction of Poverty.

In the definition of the areas of influence, the pilot project took into account criteria such as population density, level of poverty, food insecurity, institutional presence, land availability, commitment of the possible beneficiaries, among others.

It was initiated in four colonies of the periurban zone (CDC), where it was validated that technologies were implemented in gardens. Nevertheless, due to problems of security and organizational weaknesses in one of the sites, the project concentrated its activity in three of the most emblematic and populated colonies of Tegucigalpa: Villanueva, Los Pinos and Nueva Suyapa.

During the project 1,075 family orchards were selected in different periurban colonies (Los Pinos, Villanueva, Monte de los Olivos Trees and Nueva Suyapa), using the methodology based on the training manual "A Kitchen Garden for All” in 6 cycles of two months each. Six CDCs in urban areas and 1 in rural area were settled on as Units of Technology Transfer that operated as education-learning and integration spaces for the families. At the end of the project 79.1% of the gardens (850 family gardens) were active. The main reason for this (as declared by project participants) was the supply in healthy food made available at homes.

Considering the existing obstacles in these producing regions (lack of water and poor quality of soil), adaptable and low-cost technologies were validated for incorporation in periurban areas. The technologies of greater impact were: soil preparation, the use of car tires and containers for off-soil horticultural production and the use of disposable bottles for water handling.

The main indicator of the project was an increase of the consumption of fruits and vegetables by the participant population. The goal was to reach the 200 g/person/day of vegetables and fruits; the pre-study determined that the consumption of the population was 110 g/person/day. After 1.5 year of intervention the consumption was recorded to 260 g/person/day, very close to the recommendation by WHO (400 g/person/day).

88% of the project participants were women. It was determined that of the 100% of the surveyed families, 72% were female heads of household, 51% owned their house and 69% of them did not have any crops cultivated in their own yard. Nevertheless, 68% of the surveyed families managed to produce food in their own garden. 53% of the participants were women between the age of 20 and 39; 41% were between the age of 40 and 59 years; women participating over 60 were 5%. The majority of the participants lived in numerous homes, with an average of 5 people per family.

Through our project a total of 1,222 people became qualified, deducing that the population indirectly addressed was over 6,000. The participating women in the learning process was evident, not only in setting up the gardens, but also in facilitating at home the promotion of good food behaviour, since all harvested fruits and vegetables were used for private consumption.

The economic saving is one more benefit offered by the establishment of a family garden. The pre-study concluded through the evaluation in March 2012 that the contribution from the home garden to the family economy oscillated between L381.40 and L717.40 (USD 20 -) monthly, which is equivalent to an average contribution of 13.46% - 25.35% on value of what the participant families require for their foods.

This project improved the nutritional food security of six thousand people who participated or are relatives of these participants; in addition there was a social, economic and environmental impact in the communities through the family gardens. The integration of relatives around the activities of family gardens allowed children and teen-agers to have occupations less at risk than most of the activities of these areas. The environmental impact was significant thanks to appropriate technologies applied to organic waste for the production of compost, for recycling water through gray water filters, and for recycling materials for vegetable production (e.g. car tires, disposable bottles).

The experience developed by the project demonstrated that integrating Urban and Periurban Agriculture in the Municipal management scheme and developing policy tools for its promotion and support are both necessary.

Photos and charts (PDF)

Original article in Spanish(PDF)

Contact Karla Andino, FAO Project coordinator in Honduras , for more information

Hunger and undernutrition wear an increasingly urban face according to UNICEF report

UNICEF has published its 2012 report dedicated to Children in an urban world.

More than half the world’s 7 billion people now live in urban areas. What does this mean for children? The State of the World’s Children 2012: Children in an Urban World examines the situation of children growing up in urban settings and finds that denials of children’s rights to survival, health, nutrition, education and protection are widespread. It sheds light on the scale of these urban inequities and suggests ways to ensure that urban childhoods are safe, healthy, participatory and fulfilling.  ( )

´Hunger and undernutrition wear an increasingly urban face. The number of the poor and undernourished is increasing faster in urban than in rural areas. Even the apparently well fed – those who receive sufficient calories to fuel their daily activities – can suffer the ‘hidden hunger’ of micronutrient malnutrition: deficiencies of such essentials as vitamin A, iron or zinc from fruits, vegetables, fish or meat. Without these micronutrients, children are at increased risk of death, blindness, stunting and lower IQ. Poor nutrition contributes to more than a third of under-five deaths globally.” (Page 4, executive summary)

The Report, in English, is available here: (links to other languages here: )

The agricultural issues of growing cities need a coordinated action in Africa

Remi Kahane1 was invited to be a keynote speaker at the 10thMozambique women crop vendors African Crop Science Society Conference, 10-13 October 2011, Maputo, Mozambique.  He presented a paper that was prepared in collaboration with: Lutaladio2 N., Nono-Womdim2 R., Hodder2 A., Custot3 J., Gianfelici3 F. and Giyose, B.4.   This is an abstract of the paper:


One major constraint for decision makers when considering a complex problem such as the constant growth of cities in Africa is the lack of integration of the multiple priorities, due to fragmented information. Housing, health and sanitary status of inhabitants, infrastructures always behind the needs, roads, water and power supplies, sewage and waste management, employment and security… all topics are urgent and essential to make urban life decent. In addition, with the food price crisis of 2008-10, access to food has become one more priority that was hidden till now. Reliable access to affordable, safe and nutritious food in cities has first become an issue for city mayors and local governance to turn more regional, international and completely strategic at the continent level. However, what the recent crises have shown is that growing cities in Africa are not only a burden but also huge opportunities.

Those who studied for years the various modes of food supply to cities have highlighted the role of informal markets and their hundreds of dwellers, retailers, brokers and other middle men and women. They have listed the numerous strategies of urban and peri-urban agriculture, such as a horticultural specialization according to the ratio perishability/proximity, or the switch from food to ornamental crops. Nutritionists have also warned the consumers and the health authorities about the food transition of urban citizen and encouraged more traditional diets, healthy for individuals and for local economies. What appeared negligible, niche activities or fashion behaviors is now a reality just difficult to describe for poor data, lack of methodology, absence of coordination. Such data should be collected and analyzed in order to present the various alternatives to the present status-quo: local, national or/and regional action plans targeting food city supply in an integrated geographic food system. These plans would be consolidated by public and private investments in a participatory approach involving all types of actors. For each action plan, FAO and its international partners (UN organizations or NG associations) would provide guidance, expertise and a network to exchange experience and knowledge as each case is unique and necessitates its unique choice.  

3Food For the Cities, Rome, Italy
4AU-NEPAD, Johannesburg, South Africa
* Corresponding author:

Promoting the use of quality water for urban and peri urban agriculture: a reality in Dakar, Senegal

Mama Toure Dieng, FAO/Senegal, has over the last three years been working on a project (GCP/SEN/061/SPA) for promoting the use of quality water for urban and peri urban agriculture in Dakar, Senegal.

Urban vegetable production in Dakar plays a significant role in fighting poverty, as it provides both income to farmers, and a source of nutritious food for the poor. However, the irrigation of these crops is a cause for concern as Dakar has faced great growth over the last 10 years and has experienced an increasing water scarcity. This has resulted in a competition between water for domestic and productive uses (farmers and industries).

There is a growing willingness among policymakers to support urban agriculture (UA) as for example the Pikine area (one of the selected area of the project) is supplying 30% of the Dakar consumption in vegetables (lettuce tomatoes, hot pepper and diaxatu) and fruits (water melon, strawberry). The reality, however, is that the farmers of the two selected areas of the project (Pikine and Patte d’Oie) are facing many issues in order to further develop their activities and ensure their livelihoods.  The main issues for the development of urban agriculture in the selected site of Dakar are:

  • Accessing quality water (treated wastewater) andWastewater negotiation with the National Operator of Sanitation (ONAS) to obtain the supply of treated wastewater for farmers
  • Securing access to land to encourage investment of producers
  • Ensuring safety practices for farmers and uninformed consumers in producing vegetables with treated wastewater

The general objective of the project is to improve the supply of quality water to farmers to ensure the development of urban agriculture in Dakar and support food sovereignty.  

The more specific objectives concern the implementation of irrigation networks and the building of decentralized wastewater systems to ensure the supply of treated water that respects quality health standards for farmers in Pikine and Patte d’Oie, to supply micro garden with water from the National operator of water supply (SDE) or from wells equipped with manual pumps and to finally build the capacities of farmers in safe and efficient practices with the management of the treated water and the management of the infrastructure implemented by the project.  Regarding current achievements, the project team has:

  • Signed a letter of agreement with ONAS to ensure the supply of treated wastewater for farmers (1st contract for them despite that they are reusing it for at least 10 years). This contract was very complex to negotiate as farmers are facing strong competition between different productive sectors (leisure like Golf course and industries) to reuse the treated wastewater from the Camberene Wastewater Treatment Plant.
  • Created an Institutional partnerships and platform between the Government (Ministry of Agriculture), the Municipality of Dakar, the Union of producers from Pikine and Patte d’Oie (UPROVAN) and civil society specialized in the management of wastewater reuse for urban agriculture (ENDA). Irrigation network1
  • Built the capacities of agricultural producers through the setting up of different workshops on wastewater management organized by ENDA in July 2010.
  • Built two irrigation networks (one in PAtte d’Oie and one in Pikine )
  • Implemented one micro garden site supplied with water from National water operator SDE
  • Drilled 16 wells with manual pumps in sites provided by the Municipalities
  • Developed a manual on good agricultural practices and good practices for the safe use of treated wastewater to avoid any issues with the safety of products cultivated with treated wastewater. The project management want to avoid any risks with health of producers and consumers

Nevertheless, the project team is still facing some critical issues:  

  • Securing land access is a very complex issue to tackle in Dakar for urban farmers. According to an FAO Senegal report, over 75 per cent of the plots have precarious land security (tenant farming) which make farmers highly vulnerable to land use changes and for further investment. The advocacy with the Ministry of agriculture and the Municipality to support producers with a more secure land access will be an important activity of the project in the next following months.
  • Despite the negotiation with ONAS and the implementation of infrastructure (irrigation network and decentralized wastewater treatment systems), the project will have to mitigate the impact of saline intrusion (from the groundwater) in the two selected areas. To mitigate the impact of salinity on crop productivity, there are plans to implement drip irrigation to provide the salinity control needed for profitable irrigation.

MamaMicro garden Toure Dieng concludes that, “The option of reuse of treated waste water in horticulture is technically feasible but its implementation has to be supported by an important information and awareness campaign on this water quality. There is a need not only to increase the ratio of wastewater recycling and to explore alternative sources of water such as rainwater harvesting but also to strengthen the partnership between sanitation offices, farmers and support organisms and municipalities.”


New distance education course in Urban Agriculture to commence in May, 2011

CVFN 411 Dimensions of Urban Agriculture Certificate Credit Community Services Program Area Duration: 42 Hours
Fee: $515 Canadian Dollars (Payment in full is required at time of enrollment.)                      

Date: Course begins Saturday, May 7, 2011. Available through Distance Education (click enrollment).This course describes the dimensions (functions, roles, benefits, potential risks) of urban agriculture and how these complement, supplement, compete with, substitute for, or undermine those provided by other land uses, sectoral activities and actors. The main dimensions covered are: health and food security, socio-cultural dimensions, economic dimensions, and environmental dimensions. Two well-documented case studies will be used throughout the course to highlight each dimension separately, before bringing them all together.

Note: This course has been developed in partnership with ETC-Urban Agriculture (ETC-UA) and the Resource Centre on Urban Agriculture and Food Security (RUAF), with technical support provided by The Chang School.

This course is part of a portfolio of four distance education courses on urban agriculture, including the following: CVFN 410, CVFN 411, CVFN 412, and CVFN 413.

Note: A sample course outline is available.

Session internationale de formation sur le Processus Participatif de Planification et de Formulation de Politiques (3PFP) en Agriculture Urbaine

Conscient que la durabilité de l’agriculture urbaine est subordonnée à la mise en place d’un cadre institutionnel et réglementaire approprié, l’IAGU, en sa double qualité de Centre régional de la Fondation RUAF (Resource Centres on Urban Agriculture and Food Security) en Afrique de l’ouest francophone et de coordination régionale du Réseau Francophone pour l’Agriculture Urbaine en Afrique de l’Ouest Francophone (RFAU/AOC), organise une session internationale de formation sur le Processus Participatif de Planification et de Formulation de Politiques (3PFP) en agriculture urbaine.
L’objectif principal de la session de formation est de renforcer les capacités des acteurs en vue de la mise en place d’un cadre institutionnel et réglementaire favorable à l’exercice des activités agricoles urbaines.
Pour toute information complémentaire, veuillez envoyer un message  au plus tard le 15 mai 2011 à                                                        Lire

International Symposium on Urban and Peri-urban Horticulture in the Century of Cities, Dakar, Senegal, Dec. 6-9, 2010

Symposium venue Ngor Diarama Complex, Dakar, Senegal

 Greener Cities









This international event, with about 200 participants from 39 countries, was a great success. It dealt with all the different issues related to UPH, such as characterization of UPH, production techniques, training and organization of producers, pest control, water management, food safety, supply and marketing, project implementation and city to city cooperation. The SOUPHA (State of Urban and Peri-Urban Horticulture in Africa) has been launched. 

GlobalHort was very proud to have been able to sponsor this Norm Looney speaking with Souleymane Ndéné Ndiaye, Prime Minister of Senegal, following the opening ceremonyinternational symposium.  The Executive Secretary was very active on the advisory and fundraising committees and chaired one of the plenary sessions.  The GlobalHort Chair, Norman Looney, was the keynote speaker and the official GlobalHort representative introduced to the Prime Minister of Senegal and to the Mayor of Dakar.

At the concluding session, Wilfried Baudoin of FAO, summarized the Symposium outputs and made recommendations.  He concluded that the major achievements of the Symposium were:
  1. To enhance the awareness about urban and peri-urban horticulture (UPH),
  2. To facilitate the establishment of a network of scientists and pool of international expertise who will be able to interact in support of UPH initiatives worldwide,
  3. To share information on UPH through the circulation of abstracts and the publication of comprehensive proceedings to participants.

 Remi Kahane, Chair of Session 2: Characterization of urban and peri-urban agriculture, with speaker, E. Geoffriau, VEGEPOLIS,  Angers, France

  His recommendations were in three categories:

1)      At policy, strategy and institutional levels

a)      Need for more advocacy on the role of UPH in support of food and nutrition, strategies to combat hunger, malnutrition and poverty affecting the increasing numbers of urban dwellers (increased prevalence of nutrition-linked and non-communicable diseases)
b)      Need to translate interventions and knowledge into action, integrate UPH in city development planning, secure land (space), and water availability
c)       Integrate UPH in national agriculture plans and host UPH in central and decentralized institutional structures

2)      At capacity building level and information management

a)      Need for training and research on subjects relating to Good Practices to ensure food quality and safety all along the production-distribution chain (adapted cultivars, reasoned or no pesticide use, safe use of recycled water, recycled urban waste into a safe compost, nutritional education)
b)      Need for more information and statistics on UPH and on food city supply
c)       Need for innovative knowledge sharing tools and methods adapted to target audiences

3)      Empowering stakeholders along the value chain

a)      Need for infrastructure development, more specifically, drainage and irrigation infrastructure and equipment, post-harvest storage and processing capacity, wholesale markets and market information system
b)      Need to secure access to inputs (micro-credit)
c)       Promote micro-enterprises for the private sector (need shops, vegetable seed production, irrigation equipment, compost making (high-value vermi-compost /sustainability)

Technical Tours

Jerry Miner went on the Dakar micro-garden tour. A very nice article, GLOBAL: Putting Urban Gardens on the map, has been published online.    

  A number of Board members visited Tropicasem just outside Dakar, an independent private seed company dedicated to tropical flower and vegetable seeds from breeding to commercialization.

Left to right:  A. Gorin, Technisem-Tropicasem;  D. Keatinge, AVRDC-WVC;  2 staff members of Trpicasem; N. Looney and J. Miner, GlobalHort;  E. Mitcham, Hort-CRSP; J. Ganry, CIRAD

New Book: "African Urban Harvest"

African Urban Harvest

African Urban Harvest: Agriculture in the Cities of Cameroon, Kenya and Uganda

Prain, Gordon; Karanja, Nancy; Lee-Smith, Diana (Eds.)

1st Edition., 2010, XVI, 300 p. 36 illus., Hardcover, Published by Springer

ISBN: 978-1-4419-6249-2

Click here to order. Ships in 3 - 5 business days

  • About this book

Over the past two decades, how has urban agriculture changed in sub-Saharan Africa? Is city farming now better integrated into environmental management and city governance? And, looking ahead, how might urban agriculture address the needs of the low-income households and modernizing cities of Africa? In this book, leading specialists in the fields of urban agriculture and urban environment present a unique collection of case studies that examines the growing role of local food production in urban livelihoods in sub-Saharan Africa. Amongst many issues, the authors probe the changing role of urban agriculture, the risks and benefits of crop–livestock systems, and the opportunities for making locally produced food more easily available and more profitable. Concluding chapters reflect on the policy and governance implications of greater integration of urban natural resources and the built environment, an expanded role for urban agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa and the crucial role of women in urban food systems. African Urban Harvest will be of interest to decision-makers, development professionals, researchers, academics, and students and educators in urban planning, development studies, African studies, and environmental studies.

Table of contents / Preface / Sample pages 

New Book: "L'agriculture intra et périurbaine à Dakar"

L'Agriculture Intra Et Periurbaine a Dakar: Fonctions, typologie, localisation et diagnostic de durabilité en vue de son intégration dans le projet urbain de Dakar (Sénégal)

  • Author: Awa BA 
  • Paperback: 412 pages
  • Publisher: Editions universitaires europeennes (23 Sep 2010)
  • Language French
  • ISBN-10: 6131534756
  • ISBN-13: 978-6131534751
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 15 x 2.4 cm
  • Prix: 98.00 €
  • Cliquer ici pour commander
  • La croissance rapide de la population urbaine de Dakar pose des questions comme celles de l'approvisionnement alimentaire en produits frais, et de la gestion durable des espaces ouverts. Aussi, est-il nécessaire d'examiner la place d'une agriculture durable dans le fonctionnement de cette capitale. Dans la problématique, nous présentons les concepts d'agriculture urbaine, de multifonctionnalité de l'agriculture et de ville durable ainsi que le contexte. La méthodologie repose sur des enquêtes auprès de six catégories d'acteurs (agriculteurs, commerçants et bana-banas, consommateurs, élus, planificateurs et aménageurs et agents du conseil et de l'encadrement technique agricoles) pour tester les trois hypothèses énoncées. Il en résulte que différentes fonctions économiques et environnementales sont reconnues à l'agriculture intra et périurbaine à Dakar, par ces catégories d'acteurs. Cette reconnaissance est importante pour maintenir cette agriculture in situ. Aussi, la typologie effectuée, l'analyse de la localisation des exploitations agricoles et leur diagnostic de durabilité apportent des éléments clés aux décideurs quant à la détermination de son avenir.

    GlobalHort is moderating last video-conference on Eastern & Southern Africa high value agriculture: Opportunities offered by urban growth

    In preparation for the international symposium on urban and periurban horticulture (UPH), GlobalHort is moderating the last video-conference of a series of 7 in Eastern and Southern Africa on high value agriculture: Opportunities offered by urban growth (30 November 2010). Marielle Dubbeling and Margaret Pasquini, both contributors to the UPH symposium, are also the authors of the position paper around which the video-conference will be articulated (see at

    Marielle Dubbeling and Remi Kahane will present the major outcomes of this video-conference during the symposium as the contribution from Eastern and Southern Africa, less represented at Dakar.

    You are kindly invited to download this position paper commissioned by the World Bank in the framework of the AAACP, program funded by ACP and the EC.

    Verticle Farming is a featured article in the Dec. 9th issue of The Economist

    WHEN you run out of land in a crowded city, the solution is obvious: build upwards. This simple trick makes it possible to pack huge numbers of homes and offices into a limited space such as Hong Kong, Manhattan or the City of London. Mankind now faces a similar problem on a global scale. The world’s population is expected to increase to 9.1 billion by 2050, according to the UN. Feeding all those people will mean increasing food production by 70%, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, through a combination of higher crop yields and an expansion of the area under cultivation. But the additional land available for cultivation is unevenly distributed, and much of it is suitable for growing only a few crops. So why not create more agricultural land by building upwards?  Read More

    Urban Agriculture Digs In: Ploughing Ahead, in the City

    The recent issue of New Agriculturalist includes this interesting article on urban horticulture.  They report that urban and peri-urban agriculture have recently resurged in the North, but most still blend the frugal and the recreational. However, a recent UK conference highlighted urban agriculture as a important tool of resilience for crisis-hit Western economies, with key lessons to be learned from the South.  Read More

    "Urban and Peri-urban Horticulture and the Capability Approach" article recently published in ISDA 2010, Montpellier : France (2010)

    Laurent Parrot (   ) 1, Philippe Pedelahor 2, Hubert De Bon 1, Remi Kahane 3

    This paper uses the capability approach to analyse the impact of urban and peri urban horticulture on development in Africa. Is horticulture, considered as an innovation, able to improve the capabilities of people? This paper states that it is not the practice of horticulture which increases the capabilities of farmers but the level of capabilities that increases the chances of adopting horticulture. In order to answer the above question we have attempted to understand the context in which the agricultural sector and the farmers evolve in Africa, characterized by the urban transition towards a majority of urban population and the rise of nonfarm incomes. It appeared important to understand the underlying prerequisites for horticultural practices, that is, expensive agrochemical inputs and credit requirements.
    Parrot-Urbain_et_periurbain.pdf(389.7 KB)

    Growing Greener Cities: A New FAO Website Information Initiative

     “Growing Greener Cities”, a new FAO information website initiative, has been undertaken by AGP’s Programme for Urban and Peri-urban Horticulture (UPH), a key component of Food for the Cities.  It is in English, French and Spanish, at the following URL: 

    At present, the website includes information on:

    • The contribution of UPH to food security, livelihoods, environmental protection, good governance and community development
    • FAO’s five-point strategy for development of the UPH sector
    • FAO projects for UPH development in Africa and Latin America
    • The “International symposium on Urban and peri-urban horticulture” to be held in Dakar, Senegal (5-9 December 2010)
    • FAO’s partners in UPH development
    The site will be further developed in the months ahead. 


    In addition, on the occasion of the sessions of the FAO Committee on Agriculture (COAG) and the Committee on Commodity Problems (CCP) at FAO headquarters, from 14-19 June, they will hold an exhibit on UPH in the FAO Atrium. The display will present the new logo for the “Growing Greener Cities” initiative. It will also feature a display of vegetable micro-garden technology (with 100 plants), a display of photographs from an FAO project for market garden development in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and a video on community gardening in El Alto, Bolivia. 


     The exhibit will also present their new publication, “Growing Greener Cities”, which reviews the challenge posed by rapid urbanization in low-income developing countries and highlights the contribution of urban and peri-urban horticulture to more resilient and sustainable cities. For copies of the publication, please write to 

    Ph.D thesis: An Urban Horticulture Case Study

    Marie Mawois has recently finished her PhD thesis at Le Centre international d’études supérieures en sciences agronomiques (Montpellier SupAgro, France). The thesis title is: "Constitution des systèmes de culture maraîchers à proximité d’une ville : quelles marges de manœuvre des agriculteurs pour répondre à une augmentation de la demande ? Cas des systèmes de culture à base de légumes feuilles dans l’espace périurbain de Mahajanga (Madagascar)"

    The English title is : "Constitution of market-garden cropping system located around a city : what is the farmers’ room for manœuvre in response to an increase demand ? The case of leafy vegetable cropping system in the urban district of Mahajanga (Madagascar)"

    Thesis abstract in French and English (pdf).  Email:


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