Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Monday, February 18, 2013


© FAO 2012, 116 pages.

This report draws the attention of policymakers to urban and peri-urban horticulture, and how it can help to grow greener cities in Africa. Production of fruit and vegetables in and around urban areas
has a clear comparative advantage over rural and other sources in supplying urban residents with fresh, nutritious – but highly perishable – produce all year round. It generates local employment, reduces food
transport costs and pollution, creates urban green belts, and recycles urban waste as a productive resource.

Drawing on surveys and case studies from 31 countries, the report describes the current state of urban and peri-urban horticulture across the African continent. Its major finding is that the commercial
production of fruit and vegetables provides livelihoods for thousands of urban Africans and food for millions more. But market gardening has grown with little official recognition, regulation or support. In some cities, it is becoming unsustainable: to maximize returns, market gardeners are using ever larger quantities of pesticide and polluted water.

Developing sustainable market gardens to serve African cities requires, first, that policymakers recognize the sector’s current contribution to the urban food supply and to urban livelihoods. hen, they will need to zone and protect land and water for market gardens, and encourage growers to adopt eco-friendly “Save and Grow” farming practices that produce more, while reducing food contamination risks and protecting the environment. All stakeholders will need to cooperate in building an efficient
urban fruit and vegetable supply system, one that provides fresh produce at a price all residents can afford.

The 12th Meeting of the GlobalHort Board of Directors gave PAEPARD the opportunity to interview the chair of the editorial board of this publication: NeBambi Lutaladio, Senior officer and Team Leader, Crop Diversification for Improved livelihoods, Plant Production and Protection Division  Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department.

He was also instrumental in the participation of FAO in the Atelier de définition et de validation des questions de recherche relatives à la filière maraîchère en Afrique Centrale23, 24 et 25 Janvier 2013. Brazzaville. Congo.

In a first interview NeBambi Lutaladio explains why this publication has not used a scientific language and on the other hand how it can help re-orient research.

Transcript: Why did you avoid a scientific language?
To make sure policy makers are involved we have to use the same language. The first thing they may say when we talk about urban horticulture is: “It’s illegal”. Those who are involved in agriculture cannot do this in town: they have to go back to their village. Our role is to ask ourselves: how can we accompany those people.  How can we help city councils to understand the importance to support them? Therefore we need to produce a document which addresses policy makers. To demonstrate the contribution of peri and urban horticulture in nutritional and food security; to increase the income of persons who are into poverty; the possibility to improve their livelihood; to contribute to city sanitation like recycling of waste, using and purifying waste water for horticulture. It is to help policy makers to bring horticulture into the pacification of their city.   

Could such a document also re-orient research?
Yes because besides themes which addresses policy making and the management of natural resources, there are themes which are linked to better agricultural practices. In the management of resources we tackle more than land ownership issues but also territorial and agricultural management. How can we better manage soils to avoid erosion, to improve soil health and fertility, to use less chemical products, to use more organic compost, how to reduce the use of pesticides to avoid polluting the soil and water, how to recycle and collect used or rain water. Another research theme is to increase agricultural practice to improve yield and while preserving the natural resources. To improve the quality of the products means to avoid contamination by pesticide residues.  

Another type of research is socio-economic research: the professionalization of the producers. To help them create association for expressing themselves and self-management like: how to manage a credit, how to organize the collection of the horticultural products, the reimbursement of credits, the access to the inputs, and access to  market thought nice markets (products which are not so often found in super markets but for which there is a market). This will allow those groups to create a capital and to reinvest.

In a second interview NeBambi Lutaladio explains how urban horticulture can help mitigate climate change in Africa.

In a third video interview NeBambi Lutaladio expresses his appreciation of the Users-led-process approach of PAEPARD which has led PROPAC to identify Urban horticulture as a federating theme for Cameroon, DRC and the Republic of Congo around which research oriented multi stakeholder consortia can be created.

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