Urban Agriculture in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Case Study #7-12 of the Program: ''Food Policy For Developing Countries: The Role Of Government In The Global Food System''
Rapid urbanization in Sub-Saharan Africa has led to serious concerns about household food security in urban areas. Urban agriculture, which includes both crop production and livestock raising, has been recognized as serving an important role in the economic, social, and dietary life of many cities in Sub-Saharan Africa. In addition to being an important source of fresh produce, meat, and dairy products for consumers, it plays a vital economic role as a source of income for producers and distributors and also serves a socializing function for farmers, communities, and neighborhoods. In addition, urban agriculture has a number of secondary impacts, including reducing food transportation costs and providing environmental benefits. Whether practiced at the subsistence level or undertaken as a way to supplement income by a professional, urban agriculture is a widely practiced, integral component of the urban environment. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, one of the fastest-growing cities in Sub-Saharan Africa, faces a number of problems associated with such growth, including food insecurity, poor access to clean water, inadequate housing, unemployment and lack of education, and difficulties providing basic services and infrastructure. Agriculture addresses some of these concerns by serving as an important source of locally available produce and employing a substantial number of people. Because of the absence of processing, storage, and distribution facilities in much of Tanzania, urban agriculture will continue to play a vital role in the social, economic, and nutritional life of the city of Dar es Salaam. However, although urban agriculture clearly plays an important role in providing food and income in Dar es Salaam, the practice is largely unregulated and unplanned and faces a myriad of institutional, organizational, economic, and environmental problems. Your assignment is to advise national and city governments on how best to facilitate the sustainable development of urban agriculture as an integral part of the urban environment and the social fabric of the city. The policy options are organized into the following broadly construed categories according to the appropriate role and level of government in enhancing and protecting urban agricultural activities. First, promoting urban agriculture requires leadership from the national government, in particular, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, in order to be successful and to address the myriad problems facing it, and to better facilitate, promote, and coordinate urban agricultural activities. Second, because land use planning is primarily a function of local government, the municipal councils could better incorporate urban agriculture activities into the planning process to ensure that agriculture is recognized as a major activity in urban and peri-urban areas. Third, both national and local governments could accept that urban agriculture is an established component of the informal economy. To this end, the role of both the national and local governments is primarily that of an enabler of agricultural operations and to ensure that adequate legal protection is provided to producers and sufficient health information is made available to the public.
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Cornell University Division of Nutritional Sciences
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Previously Published As
Stephan Schmidt (2011). Case Study #7-12, ''Urban Agriculture in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania''. In: Per Pinstrup-Andersen and Fuzhi Cheng (editors), ''Food Policy for Developing Countries: Case Studies.''10 pp.