While rural agriculture continues to be the primary source of basic food for urban dwellers in many situations, urban and peri-urban crop production also plays a role in that it often concentrates on supplying fresh and perishable products of high value - especially fruit and vegetables but also products from dairying and small animal husbandry - with the comparative advantage of being produced close to the consumer’s market.
Urban agriculture typically evolves as an informal activity, competing with others for land, water and labour in the urban environment. Consequently, the long- term sustainability of urban and peri-urban agriculture will depend on its integration, as a positive value, in the urban resource management and environmental planning process. A key challenge is developing policy, strategies and technical support mechanisms ad hoc for the sustainable management of urban and peri-urban agricultural systems, considering crop and fodder production alongside animal husbandry aspects and marketing facilities, as well as criteria of water use efficiency and food safety.
Support programmes need to consider the broad range of crops and activities that can contribute to the food security, employment, and livelihoods of poor people in urban and peri-urban areas. These can include home gardens and small-scale market gardening for vegetables; fruits, especially easy-to-grow short cycle crops; mushrooms; nurseries for fruit and other trees, ornamental plants and vegetable seedlings; and fodder crops and pastures for dairy and small animals.