Mezzanine_189The lecture given by Dr Suzanne Speak give us a clear and brief understanding of urban agriculture. Firstly, urban agriculture is sustainable and could provide food for citizens by themselves. Then it provides job opportunities and social integration. It also makes some differences in urban design and add a new sense for cities.

Urban agriculture in developed and developing countries is very different. In developing countries, urban agriculture plays a more important role of family income. It is going in a different way compared with developed countries. In Latin America and Caribbean, urban and peri-urban agriculture is a good way to reduce dwellers cost, eradicate poverty and hunger and improve life quality in recent years. (Mukherjee, 2001)

Like Havana, the third largest urban area in Caribbean, which has a population of 2.1 million inhabitants, has 90000 people working on urban agriculture from their backyards to community gardens. And Quito, the capital and second most populous city in Ecuador, also do it well, it has 140 community gardens, 800 family gardens and 128 school gardens. Urban farmers use this income to pay their tools, living and school fees. (RUAF, http://www.ruaf.org/urban-agriculture-what-and-why)

In Mexico City, one of the world’s largest and polluted cities, urban agriculture is a good solution for citizens for a healthy and sustainable life. The population of that is estimated at about 16000 working on 11500 family gardens. And there are some unique and very useful urban agriculture projects which provide wide functions from education, seed bank, training to therapy for different age groups and walks of life in Mexico City. Like Centro de Agricultura Urbana Romita, which is an educational garden, its roof shows a wide range of urban agriculture techniques (like hydroponics and vertical growing) and supplies workshops, resources, and skills training for city dwellers. (RUAF, http://www.ruaf.org/urban-agriculture-what-and-why)

As cases show, urban agriculture is very beneficial for developing countries’ economic. On the one hands, it is a large part of their income, like in Mexico City, swine production takes part in 10-40 percentage of family earnings, vegetable production up to 80 percent of household incomes. On the other hand, urban agriculture brings much driving force to small enterprises and companies, from transportation, package, food transformation and market. All these things could provide jobs for residents and also more easy to start than those jobs in office buildings.

Besides economic benefits, urban agriculture is also helpful in social integration and urban ecology. As these advantages of urban agriculture, governments and organizations provide more finance support for urban agriculture projects.

One important thing is this support could not be limited to credits by banks, it is a complex and changing combination of resource including monetary and non-monetary, individual and collective saving, varies subsides ways, microcredits and general credits. There is one example of urban agriculture insurance in China, governments both in Beijing and shanghai setting up insurance and security systems for urban farmers. There is a large need for food, vegetables actually and jobs in these big cities. In Minhang district of shanghai, the anxin insurance cooperation Ltd, provided 4.5 million yuan insurance of 15 types for urban farmers. In Utrecht, the De Moestuin is also a good example of public benefit organization which is rebuilt by local government. It includes mixed functions from greenhouse, garden of fruits and vegetables, organic shop, café, workshop, petting zoo and playground. The mixed functions allow De Moestuin operate well. It could get income from the sale of foods and services. (Cabaanes, 2013, pp16)

Another example of horticultural co-operative marketing is the Horticulture Producer and Cooperative Marketing Society in Bangalore of India, which provides training, agriculture techniques, tools and marketing facilities to their members (urban farmers). The HOPCOMS also avoids intermediaries and urban farmers could get more income. It is like an integration between producers and consumers and makes urban agriculture development easier. (Cabaanes, 2013, pp17)

From the cases, we could summarize ways to stimulate productivity and improve economic of urban agriculture. Firstly, agriculture techniques and training should be provided to urban farmers, like non-soil production technology and wastewater reuse. Then, government or organizations should make it more accessible to water, basic facilities and marketing. And some finance supports are also very important at the beginning of urban agriculture for poor urban farmers, like credit and microenterprise developments.

Urban agriculture plays a significant role in developing countries. It is not just using vacant land in urban areas and make things more efficient in big cities, but find a way for poor citizens to make a living. It enhances urban economic, reduces city pollution, provides jobs and organic foods for people there. Actually, urban agriculture is a good trend and solution for developing countries.

REFERENCE:

[1] Cabannes, Y. (2013) ‘Financing Urban Agriculture: Seeking the right mix of subsides, credit, savings, and resource mobilisation’ URBAN AGRICULTURE, (October), pp. 13-17

[2] Dubbeling, M. and Zeeuw, H. (2009) Cities, Food and Agriculture: Challenges and the way forward Available at: http://www.ruaf.org/sites/default/files/Working%20paper%203%20%20Cities%20Food%20and%20Agriculture.pdf

[3] Mukherjee, N. (2001) Alternative perspectives on livelihoods, agriculture and air pollution: agriculture in urban and peri-urban areas in a developing country. Aldershot: Ashgate.

[4] Pearson, C., Pilgrim, S. and Pretty, J. (2010) Urban agriculture: diverse activities and benefits for city society. London: Earthscan.

[5] Resource Centres on Urban Agriculture & Food Security (no date) urban agriculture: what and way? Available at: http://www.ruaf.org/urban-agriculture-what-and-why (accessed: 20, Dec, 2015)

[6] Urban agriculture: food, jobs and sustainable cities (1996) New York: UNDP