Urban Agriculture as Livelihood Strategy: A Case Study in the Southern Fringe of Addis Ababa

Urban Agriculture as Livelihood Strategy: A Case Study in the Southern Fringe of Addis Ababa

Ashenafi Tilahun Hailie (Ministry of Construction, Ethiopia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8063-8.ch028
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This chapter assesses the benefits of urban agriculture in the study area. Data is generated through questionnaire, focus group discussions, interviews, and direct observations. Qualitative and quantitative analysis is made in line with sustainable livelihood framework. In the findings, sex indiscrimination, migrants' dominancy, poor educational status, and agricultural background made it as main stays. As assets, access to land, gentle slope, fertile soil, moderate climate, drainage, diversification, access to transportation, are promising. Skills, knowledge transfer, ability to labor, and good health are examined insufficient. Population explosion, absence of good governance, frequent indeterminable natural calamities, land tenure insecurity, and seasonality of prices are identified vulnerabilities. The strategies designed need intervention, organization, and persuasion effort. As outcomes, increasing well-being, reducing vulnerability, and improving food security, are substantial. Hence, incorporating a land use plan and promoting and providing support to the sector imply helping urban poor.
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Background Of The Study

Over half of the absolute poor would be living in urban areas which are expected to surpass rural areas in population around the year 2005 (FAO, 1998). Africa gained an average 13 million additional urban dwellers per year in 2005-2010 and is expected to gain some 25 million per year in 2045-2050 (UN, 2011). Population growth is an important element in the growth of demand for food in the cities. Age structure of the population and income level also determine food demand. Most of the food in cities is purchased but poor urban consumers have also access to food through home production, bartering or food assistance programmes (Drescher et al. 1999).

“The urban food production for the well-being of producers in connection with nutrition or consumption, health, cash saving and income generation and employment is of paramount importance” (RUFA, 2001). “Finding the ways to provide food, shelter and basic services to the city residents; create “sustainable cities” are real challenges for many city authorities around the world especially in Sub-Saharan Africa” (Drescher; 2000).

The drive to integrate agriculture into urban landscapes has a long history and this drive has intensified since the Industrial Revolution. Garden cities and the benefits that early visionaries perceived were possible through them remain Utopian ideals. In the contemporary context of urban development, the possibilities of looking a new at agriculture relate more to implementing sustainability and addressing the structural changes brought about by globalization to communities, their food systems and quality of life for urbanites (Knowd et al, 2006).

Urban agriculture is a strategic resource and deserves a systematic approach to planning, one that recognizes the values of agriculture in economic, social and environmental terms. Decision-making processes that fail to consider UA risk denying current and future generations’ choices in the way the economy, society and the environment are managed. These failures breach principles of sustainability and risk the loss of productive land, social capital and natural assets (Knowd et al, 2006).

Ethiopia is one of the Sub-Saharan African countries where, despite its existence and significant contribution, UA was not only unrecognized by researchers but also underestimated and given very little attention by urban development studies, urban planners and decision makers. Particularly in the city of Addis Ababa, where the practices of UA are highly prevalent, baseline data and information on the actual and potential roles of urban agriculture are scanty. (Mohammed, 2002).

Akaki Kaliti is one of the ten Sub-Cities of Addis Ababa. Geographically, it occupies the southern parts of Addis Ababa. From the city’s 530.14 km2 area, the Sub City covers a total area of 61.4km2 consisting of eight Kebeles (UAT, 2008).

Economically, the Sub-City is an industrial zone of Addis Ababa where 60% of the industries are found. According to officials of the Sub City, there are more than 300 industries with estimated of 80,000 factory workers. The depth of workers problem can be revealed through the low wages they earn, large family size, being physical laborers or unskilled, structurally unemployed and insecurity in their work environment that forced to seek alternative means of subsistence (www.addisababacity.gov.et accessed 03/10/2009).

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