Urban Agriculture in Africa is not feasible

Some people rush into urban farming without giving it a serious thought. Various entities including Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) promote urban farming without understanding the implications and the negative impact on those who do it and the urban areas where it is practiced.  It’s common to see animals roaming the streets in Africa, sometimes unattended. People want to experience village life in the city which is unreasonable. They want to continue enjoying cheap and sometimes free things while living in the city. They don’t want to incur expenses on food so they try to grow their own food within their homes.

Whereas urban agriculture is ordinarily encouraged by many urbanists and environmentalists, it’s not unescapably an easy venture. On top of making your home messy and unclean, it doesn’t inevitably save you any money.  Growing tomatoes in your backyard may give you a few fruits for a week but it won’t guarantee you supply for an entire year.

Urban faming may have a “feel good” effect on the person practicing it but it doesn’t help the individual, the community and city in terms of growth and orderliness. It makes folks falsely believe that they are agriculturalists whereas they are not. It distorts the market as persons that are not real farmers masquerade as such while denying the legitimate crofters the opportunity to earn income from their produce.

Urban agriculture is expensive both in the short and long run. The amount of money one expends on inputs like fertilizers and the time dedicated to the care of crops and animals is far much higher than if one bought the produce from the market.  Urban farming contributes less than 1% of the food needs of Uganda. It’s slightly more in Kenya and much less in most African countries. Besides it’s not likely to increase substantially because of the various restraining factors obtaining in the city. .

Some individuals go an extra mile to live with animals in their homes which compromises on the hygienic standards in the household with cows and goat’s droppings and other animal wastes. Evidence suggests that People with small plots of land in the city engage in urban farming which impoverishes them further instead of improving their lives and incomes.

Urban agriculture could only be feasible if and when one has adequate land where to practice husbandry.  Farming requires large tracts of land and yet it is scarce and limited in urban areas.

Next time you think about engaging in urban farming, on your small piece of land in the city, think twice as you may not be saving any money   besides it may take your precious time and cleanliness in your home is compromised. Urban farming in Africa is simply not feasible. It simply doesn’t work. Don’t go for it. Let the experts do the job. Yours is to make money and buy food from the market.

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