Food from the city, for the city: Bringing urban farming technologies closer to Kampala's residents

Food from the city, for the city: Bringing urban farming technologies closer to Kampala's residents

15/11/2021
in News
Ine Tollenaers
Ine Tollenaers
Regional Communication Officer
Arusha

It's a hot September Friday in Kampala, and the sun is beaming at the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) Resource Center in Kyanja. Rikolto colleagues Peter Businda, Ward Goossenaerts and Ine Tollenaers are visiting the centre to see different urban farming technologies work in practice. The future of urban farming shines bright here: Not so much because of the radiant sun, but because of the remarkable display of technologies.

The Kyanja Agricultural Resource Center in Kawempe division is set up by KCCA to showcase and demonstrate innovations in urban farming. It is spread out over a large area of around 30 acres. The objective of the resource center is to engage communities to participate in urban farming as a source of income and food security.

The resource center is divided into different sections: Vermiculture, pig breeding, chicken breeding, a section for vegetable growing in small spaces (including aquaponics), commercial vegetable production and many more. At the entrance, there is also a shop where farmers or aspiring farmers can buy high quality seeds and seedlings.

Overall, the center is a great tool to promote urban farming, but the distance to the center from other parts of Kampala and lack of information about the center are still two persistent barriers to popularise the technologies that are displayed at the center. That is why KCCA teamed up with Rikolto and the UN Environment Programme to spread knowledge about urban farming technologies and bring the technologies closer to the people of Kampala.

We aim to inspire people in an urban setting that farming is still a possibility. By raising awareness about different urban farming technologies, we want people to know urban farming can provide healthy, sustainable and nutritious vegetables for home use, or be a good source of income even within the city.

Peter Businda Rikolto Food Smart City Advisor

To achieve the objective of bringing different urban farming technologies closer to the residents of the City of Hills, Rikolto and KCCA trained a total of 50 model farmers who can demonstrate the technologies at their homes in five different divisions of Kampala: Lubaga, Makindye, Nakawa, Kawempe and Kampala Central. That means a person living in the south of Kamapala – for instance in Makindye - won't have to travel all the way to the KCCA resource center in the north to see a vermiculture system at work. They can simply visit a model farmer in Makindye itself and talk about the benefits and challenges of such a system with a fellow farmer within their community. This will - almost - eliminate the cost and time of travel for communities, which are two of the main barriers to visiting the resource center.

Besides spreading the word about technologies fit for small spaces and urban farming, the model farmers are also sensitising their communities about the importance of adding vegetables to your plate, especially vegetables that are grown following health and safety standards. Fresh produce available in Kampala's markets is often contaminated with bacteria and chemicals that pose a risk to the health of its residents.

For me, the trip to the KCCA resource center was a real eye opener to see how much farming can be done on little space in a city like Kampala. It has inspired me to farm more herbs and vegetables in my own garden in Arusha, Tanzania.

Ine Tollenaers Rikolto Communications Officer

Because a successful popularisation project includes awareness raising not only with communities, but also with stakeholders, our Rikolto Peter Businda also facilitated a workshop about the importance of urban farming in Kampala on 26 October 2021. The workshop gave an opportunity to different stakeholders - city planners, policy makers, academia and other value chain players - to interact, learn and share best practices. The focus was on thinking through common urban food systems challenges as well as sharing some of the systemic approaches to promote sustainable urban & peri-urban agriculture as means to achieve sustainable food systems in Kampala and other secondary cities in Uganda.