Journal of Food Security. 2014, 2(3), 79-86DOI:
Abstract: Despite the perceived white-collar and industry-based formal employment gravity of urban areas of developing countries, poverty and food insecurity persists. Therefore, urban agriculture, a predominantly rural economic activity, emerges as a lucrative livelihood strategy used to curb urban food insecurity. We assessed the contributions of urban agriculture to household food security and income in Cold Stream, a low income residential area in Chinhoyi town in Zimbabwe. Weadministered 20 questionnaires to a convenient sample of urban farmers, interviewed five purposively sampled informants from key institutions and carried out three temporally spaced fieldworks. The results clearly show that urban agriculture is a prominent livelihood of the poor unemployed majority (53%) who dominate the economic category. Key informants interviews indicated that although local non-governmental organisations boost urban agriculture by providing farm inputs and technical advice free of charge, there is no government support this activity. Furthermore, results from questionnaires show that yields as well as income from their sales is used primarily for acquiring basic necessities rather than for luxury thereby confirming that the farmers are poor. All urban farmers (100%) consume their farm produce indicating that urban agriculture enhances food security. Moreover, a majority (80%) overwhelmingly concurred that urban farming makes food cheaper hence improves food accessibility, which is an important pillar of food security. Additionally, a majority (60%) earn significant income from selling farm produce, of which 84% sale to informal markets while remaining minority 16% to the formal markets. Notably, about half the sample (48%) also concurred that urban agriculture reduce food insecurity even in their rural homes where they also remit some of their farm produce. However, there are challenges negatively affecting urban agriculture. Some of the challenges include lack of credit lines for inputs and unfavourable policy arrangements that classifies urban agriculture as illegal activity.