By Diana Lee-Smith, International Development Research Centre (Canada), Axumite G. Egziabher, Daniel G. Maxwell
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Additional resources for Cities feeding people: an examination of urban agriculture in east Africa
Fieldwork and aerial images of archaeological sites are unraveling massive and ingenious earth and waterworks, within and fringing the larger and more advanced urban settlements achieved by ancient civilizations, for the production of food, feed, and fodder crops; fuel, building, shade, fencing, windbreak trees, and shrubs; ornamental, medicinal, and other utilitarian plants; and livestock for food, traction, transport, and savings. Page 2 Under the Persian emperor Darius, walled gardens or pairidaeze (“paradises”) were associated with hydraulic facilities for maximizing the use of scarce water.
In Lusaka, a survey of 250 low-income nontenant households in five areas found that 45% of them cultivated food within or on the fringe of the city (Sanyal 1984, p. 198). In Kampala 36% of the households surveyed within a 5-km radius of downtown engaged in some form of agriculture (Maxwell, this volume). In Kisangani, 33% of 426 households responded that they practice UA (Streiffeler 1991, p. 268, cited by Sawio 1993, p. 103). Even space-scarce Cairo in the early 1980s had at least 80000 households home-raising animals (Reed 1984, cited by Khouri-Dagher 1987, p.
A second, and related, issue is the attitude of governments toward UA. Colonial governments typically forbade visible UA as unsightly; many of these laws continue on the books. Enforcement varies from country to country and often relates to the existence of a food deficit in the country. The uncertainty created by expected harassment keeps farmers from investing in soil or crop improvement. Even if harassment ceases, land values and zoning will play equally important roles in determining the extent of future urban food production.