FAO's Programme for Urban and Peri-urban Horticulture


Photo: FAO/Fiorita Botts

FAO projects help governments and city administrations to optimize policies, institutional frameworks and support services for UPH, and to improve horticultural production and marketing systems

Plurinational State of Bolivia

Funding: Belgium. In the El Alto municipality of La Paz, FAO supported a micro-gardens programme for low-income families. Some 1,500 households were trained in organic cultivation of fruits, vegetables and herbs in small greenhouse units measuring 40 sq m. The units provide fresh vegetables all year round for home consumption and sale through neighbourhood markets. Result: a significant increase in vegetable consumption and income, which families use to purchase eggs and meat. El Alto has created a UPH unit to manage expansion of the programme, which recently received the municipality's Innovaciones municipales award.


Funding: Belgium. Launched in 2010, this two-year project is helping establish a programme for urban and peri-urban horticulture in the capital, Bujumbura. A key objective is to establish a UPH consultative committee, chaired by the city's mayor, to facilitate dialogue among various partners, stakeholders and beneficiaries. The project will improve access to credit, inputs and training for the estimated 7,500 to 10,000 residents who practise UPH, with a special focus on female growers, who are often the mainstay of family food security. The project will also help reduce the use of pesticides and develop agro-forestry activities.


Funding: Colombia, Italy. FAO has implemented three projects in Colombia which provided training and other technical assistance for urban and peri urban horticulture in Bogota, Medellin and Cartagena, and in urban areas of Antioquia and Tolima departments. Assistance from FAO and other organizations has helped introduce various types of urban gardening - including backyard plots and micro-gardens on terraces and rooftops - to 50,000 urban residents. In 90 municipalities in Antioquia, more than 7,500 families are participating in UPH programmes. Specialists trained by one FAO project later assisted UPH development in Senegal.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Funding: Belgium. FAO is supporting development of the UPH sector in five cities of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It advised on measures that regularized title to 1 600 ha of garden areas operated by 20 000 full-time growers. The project introduced improved vegetable varieties and installed or upgraded 40 irrigation structures, which extended production throughout the year. Some 450 growers' associations were trained in good agricultural practices, while micro-credit helped beneficiaries start profitable small-scale enterprises. Market gardens in Kinshasa now produce an estimated 75 000 to 85 000 tonnes of vegetables a year, or 65 percent of the city's supply. See also Greening Lubumbashi.


Funding: Spain. Launched in 2010, this project seeks to enhance the food security and incomes of 11,500 residents in the capital, Guatemala City, and surrounding areas by improving the availability of good quality water for vegetable production. It is helping the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food introduce rooftop drainage systems and water storage and treatment units that will be used to irrigate some 1,000 household micro-gardens, 20 community greenhouses and five school orchards. It will involve municipal authorities in monitoring water quality and train national specialists in improved UPH practices.


Funding: Belgium. Target beneficiaries of this FAO project, implemented in 2001-2007, were unemployed slum dwellers and landless and marginal farmers in and around the cities of Windhoek and Rundu. FAO provided a horticulture specialist and sponsored study tours to Senegal for Namibian extensionists. In collaboration with the Ministry of Youth, the project helped establish community demonstration plots and train groups of young vegetable growers in integrated plant production and protection management, micro-garden and micro-irrigation technologies, and cultivation of improved and adapted vegetable varieties.


Funding: Spain. Launched in 2010, this project aims at creating in and around the capital, Managua, 500 micro-gardens and 12 demonstration and training centres in neighbourhoods and schools. In collaboration with Nicaragua's Institute of Agricultural Technology, it will provide drip irrigation systems and training in intensive vegetable production for low-income beneficiaries, expected to number 9,500. To ensure the sustainability of the project, beneficiaries will also be trained in operating and maintaining UPH infrastructure, including greenhouses and tunnel seedling nurseries, and in monitoring the quality of rainwater collected for use in irrigation.


Funding: Italy. FAO has supported the Government of Rwanda's efforts to develop urban and peri-urban agriculture in the capital, Kigali. A project implemented between 2004 and 2009 focused on soil and water management, horticulture, livestock production and forestry. As part of the horticulture component, FAO assisted in establishing 40 micro-gardens, including school gardens, and introducing rainwater harvesting systems. It helped draft a strategic framework for UPA in Kigali and advised the city administration on measures aimed at integrating horticulture into Kigali's long-term urban development plan.


Funding: Italy, Spain. In collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, FAO has helped introduce micro-garden technology and start community gardening centres in low-income areas of Dakar and the neighbouring city of Pikine. More than 4,000 urban residents, most of them women, have started micro-gardens, which produce on average 30 kg of vegetables per sq m per year, enough to satisfy family needs and providing a surplus for sale. In 2008, the micro-gardens programme won UN-HABITAT's Dubai Award for Best Practice to Improve the Living Environment. The $30,000 prize is being used to consolidate and expand the programme.


Funding: Venezuela. FAO assisted two government-funded projects, implemented in the cities of Caracas, Aragua and Carabobo, which helped 7,200 families in densely populated barrios to plan and develop their own micro-gardens. The projects established 23 community horticulture production units, which use hydroponic technology, as well as 14 intensive orchards and 17 school gardens. Produce from community gardens - estimated at around 100 tonnes in 2009 - is distributed to vulnerable families. A feature of FAO assistance was South-South cooperation: the project provided Venezuela with the services of UPH specialists from Cuba and Senegal.