Urban Agriculture and Poverty Reduction in Urban Zimbabwe: Prospects and Obstacles
(University of Fort Hare)
Paper short abstract:
Paper long abstract:
Urban agriculture is a dynamic concept that comprises a variety of livelihood systems, ranging from subsistence production and processing at household level to fully commercialised agriculture. Focusing on subsistence urban agriculture, this paper examines struggles over land for agricultural purposes in urban areas as well as the role and importance of subsistence urban agriculture in poverty alleviation in Zimbabwe. Using evidence gathered during fieldwork in a Zimbabwean city, the paper looks in particular at conflicts between the urban poor and local authorities arising out of competing demands for land for urban agriculture on one hand and urban expansion and environmental protection on the other. It also examines urban agriculture’s potential contribution to household food security, employment creation and income generation. It argues that urban agriculture has a critical role to play as a source of food, income and employment for the urban poor in Zimbabwe, currently in the midst of an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in its history. But despite the importance of urban agriculture in reducing poverty in the urban areas and ameliorating the suffering of the poor, its potential has fallen victim to the rigid political, legal, policy, and institutional framework currently in existence in Zimbabwe. A revision of the outdated elitist laws and policies, some of which date back to the colonial era, that are currently inhibiting urban agriculture’s contribution to the lives of the urban poor is suggested. The paper concludes by arguing that for this to happen, there is a need for local authorities and policy makers to change their perception of urban agriculture and recognise its centrality in the livelihoods of the urban poor.
Poverty and urban space in Africa