Preparing Kampala for a future in urban farming

Preparing Kampala for a future in urban farming

in News

When thinking about farming, most people imagine rural areas with large, open fields with bright green crops whose growth is powered by the sun. However, with growing cities expected to consume 80% of all food, it will be necessary to complement that image with urban farming: Food from the city, for the city.

“Promoting Sustainable Urban & Peri-urban Agriculture for healthy, sustainable, and nutritious diets in Kampala” is a collaboration between Rikolto, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) that envisions a future proof Kampala where small spaces can be used for urban farming.

To ensure that everyone living in the city can enjoy safe, healthy and nutritious food, it will be key to promote sustainable urban farming technologies across Kampala. This is exactly the objective of the project in collaboration with UNEP and Kampala Capital City Authority.

Peter Businda Food Smart City Agribusiness Advisor at Rikolto

More specifically, the project aims to equip governments and stakeholders with the necessary knowledge and tools to boost sustainable urban and peri-urban agriculture practices in Kampala. By spreading sustainable urban farming practices, we envision a wider positive impact on the environment, livelihood of urban farmers, food security and nutritious diets. This project will run from August to November 2021.

Leading by example

To make urban farming accessible to as many inhabitants of the ‘City of Hills’ as possible, the project will set up demonstration plots with smart technologies for urban farming in five divisions across Kampala: Lubaga, Makindye, Nakawa, Kawempe and Kampala Central. A total of 50 model farmers, 10 in each division, will demonstrate how to grow different crops and foods sustainably, in a safe way and with a limited amount of space available. These model farmers will first receive the necessary training that they then can implement and spread in their communities. Some technologies that they will use - a sack garden for example – are rather simple, while others – such as aquaponics – will require more knowledge.

Ensuring everyone wins

To build a strong business case for short-chain urban farming in Kampala, the initiative will also analyse the social, economic and environmental return on investment of urban farming and organise capacity building sessions on urban planning and urban agriculture for government officials and stakeholders to foster knowledge on enabling policy environments. Urban farming potentially has wide ranging benefits for the environment and people compared to more conventional longer chains: They boost food security and environmental education towards food. They provide jobs. They increase resource efficiency by using waste streams as inputs. They bolster biodiversity. They enhance vegetation cover in cities – which can store carbon and lower urban temperatures. They reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the distance food must travel to reach consumers. They cut the need for land clearances for agriculture – a key driver of ecosystem loss.