Urban and peri-urban agriculture


UPA offers a wide scope of benefits

UPA is central to FAO’s mission to support the transformation to more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agri-food systems under the four betters – Better Production, Better Nutrition, a Better Environment, and a Better Life.

  • The promotion of sustainable and efficient production in urban and peri-urban areas through innovative approaches leads to better production.
  • UPA also contributes to better nutrition by promoting household food and nutrition security and direct access to fresh and nutritious food that can be harvested, prepared, and fed to family members.
  • By contributing to a lively agri-food economy in urban and peri-urban areas, generating job opportunities and facilitating local economic development - UPA brings a better life to urban and peri-urban dwellers.
  • Finally, UPA contributes to a better environment by improving the sustainability and resilience of the urban ecological environment. It does so by establishing short supply chains, fostering the recycling or urban waste, synergizing energy use and promoting investments in green infrastructures.
However, UPA also faces many challenges

It often competes with others activities (e.g. housing, infrastructures, industry) for key resources such as land, water and labour and the needs of smallholder producers is seldom heard. In particular, the value of land for non-agricultural uses is much higher and cultivations are seldom protected by secure tenure arrangements. The quality of water used in UPA is also critical, due to high population density and presence of industrial activities where there is a large concentration of UPA producers. To overcome challenges, the long-term sustainability of UPA will depend on how it is regulated and integrated into the urban resource management and environmental planning process.

Learn more about specific practices, benefits as well as recommendations and guidance in the UPA sourcebook.

The role of FAO

Since 1999, FAO has been formally mandated by its members to deal with UPA as an integral part of agricultural production systems, and to specifically consider UPA’s contributing role in feeding cities, creating employment, and generating income for the urban poor.

Building on the Programme for Urban and Peri-urban Horticulture “Growing Greener Cities” (2008-2014), a five-point approach was developed for the sustainable development of urban and peri-urban agriculture.

  1. Ensure the inclusion of UPA in urban planning through political and institutional commitment.
  2. Secure land and water for UPA.
  3. Ensure product quality while protecting the environment.
  4. Ensure the professionalization of producers and secure new markets for the scaling-up of UPA.
  5. Ensure good urban governance through multi-stakeholder participation.

Based on this approach, FAO is committed to assisting FAO members and supporting capacity building for the successful implementation of UPA. The Organization also engages on policy support with local authorities and policy makers to support the development of policy advice, strategies and technical guidelines within an integrated approach to the sustainable management of agriculture in urban and peri-urban zones. Finally, FAO collects, generates and promotes the exchange of experiences and good practices across governments, civil society and development partners to increase awareness of the importance of UPA.