FAO's Programme for Urban and Peri-urban Horticulture


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Africa: Feeding the rising urban population

September 2012. According to a report by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), Growing Greener Cities in Africa, more than half of all residents in African cities currently live in overcrowded slums, many of them surviving on less than $2 a day. The situation presents an enormous challenge to governments across the continent. Developing sustainable market gardens to serve African cities requires policy makers to recognise the sector's current contribution to the urban food supply and to urban livelihoods.

A helping hand for the urban poor

September 2012. Growing Greener Cities in Africa reports that most African cities are already green and growing food. Yet some of this might not be sustainable, the report points out. Most gardeners have no title to their land; many lose it overnight. Land suitable for horticulture is being taken for housing, industry and infrastructure.

Urbanization puts farms in Africa's cities at risk

August 2012. As many as 40 percent of urban African families are also urban farmers, producing fruit and vegetables not just for themselves but for millions of others — all within or near city limits. But these urban farms are in jeopardy. As Africa's cities double in population over the next few decades, horticultural land will be lost to housing and industry, Growing Greener Cities in Africa predicts.

Greener cities crucial to African food security

August 2012. A new FAO publication says policymakers need to act now to ensure that African cities will be "green" enough to meet their nutrition needs in a sustainable way. Growing greener cities in Africa is the first status report on the home, school, community and market gardens that supply fresh produce to the continent's cities.

DR Congo perfects the horticultural metropolis

November 2011. In the past decade, the cities of the Democratic Republic of the Congo have swollen with an influx of the displaced and the hopeful. With urban populations growing by as much as 50 per cent in ten years, vegetable farms in and around cities have become a nutritional necessity.

Urban horticulture in DR Congo reaps $400 mln for small growers

10 June 2011, Rome. An FAO urban horticulture programme in the five main cities of the Democratic Republic of Congo has taken a bite out of chronic malnutrition levels in urban areas and created a surplus with a market value of over $400 million.

Putting urban gardens on the map

13 December 2010, Dakar. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and many other international and local institutions are pushing the message that micro-gardening and other forms of urban horticulture can go a long way to boosting city dwellers' food security and improving living conditions.

Mainstreaming urban horticulture

7 December 2010, Dakar. City-planners must make urban horticulture an integral part of their development and planning strategies to meet the challenges of improving nutrition and feeding a growing population in the face of rapid urbanization...

Growing food in greener cities

September 2010, Rome. The concept of "green cities" is usually associated with urban planning in the more developed world. But it has a special application, and significantly different social and economic dimensions, in low-income developing countries. As cities grow, valuable agricultural land is lost to housing, industry and infrastructure, and production of fresh food is pushed further into rural areas...

Urban farming against hunger

February 2007, Rome. FAO has opened a new front in its battle against hunger and malnutrition - in the world's cities where most of global population growth is set to take place over the next decades. "Urban agriculture" may seem a contradiction, but that is what FAO is supporting as one element in urban food supply systems in response to the surging size of the cities of the developing world - and to their fast-advancing slums.

Farming in urban areas can boost food security

June 2005, Rome. With the world's cities growing rapidly, farming in and around urban areas needs to play a bigger role in feeding city populations. Urban and peri-urban farms already supply food to about 700 million city dwellers -- one-quarter of the world's urban population -- and nearly all of the world's population growth between now and 2030 will be concentrated in urban areas in developing countries.

New gardeners tell their stories

March 2004, Caracas, Venezuela. Noraly Verenzuela, 28, used to advise tourists in a downtown hotel. She still works downtown, but now as the president of a successful urban gardening cooperative that grows and sells tonnes of fresh vegetables on a half-hectare plot surrounded by office towers. The garden is one of almost 20 in and around Caracas started within the past year as part of an FAO-supported government programme to improve nutrition and livelihoods for the city's poor.

Gardening for the poor

March 2004, Caracas, Venezuela. Instant city "farmers" are changing how this tropical metropolis gets its fresh vegetables. Vegetables formerly brought from distant farms or imported from a neighbouring country are increasingly grown a few steps away from the family kitchen. In under a year, 4 000 microgardens - metre-square shallow trays on wooden legs - have been set up by the national government in the city's poor neighbourhoods, or barrios.

Caracas embraces city gardening for improved nutrition, jobs

March 2004, Caracas, Venezuela. City vegetable gardening may be the next big thing. The timing is right. In 2005, the world's urban population is expected to surpass the rural population. Three billion city dwellers will need safe and affordable food. Yet poverty rates in developing-world cities often exceed 50 percent with chronic joblessness and malnutrition. Can widespread city gardening provide not only on-the-spot fresh produce, but also jobs for the poor and better nutrition for their families?