Urban and peri-urban agriculture in Tanzania
Urban and Peri-urban Agriculture (UPA) in Tanzania emerged during the economic crisis when the government encouraged urban people to grow foods in the backyards of their houses and open spaces. Ever since, UPA practices have expanded to raising livestock (poultry, dairy cattle, goats, pigs, etc), cultivation of crops (green vegetables, food crops such as maize, horticultural crops), and floriculture.
UPA has become an important source of income particularly for the urban poor to cope with economic hardships resulting from the inability of towns to create more formal jobs. UPA also contributes to urban food baskets where categories of urban dwellers are involved: low, middle, and high income. Currently, high-income residents are producing high-value crops, livestock production, use drip irrigation technologies, and poultry farming in cages (see Photo 2, 3, and 4). The outbreak of Covid-19 has also made UPA an important source of vegetables and Vitamin C herbs which boost immunity.
UPA is recognised in some policy papers for its potential contribution to food security, income generation and employment. It is also noted as a threat to the environment. The draft '2013 National Agricultural Policy' has highlighted measures to integrate and promote UPA, although its implementation is still a challenge. Farmers at the 'intra and peri-urban areas are challenged by land tenure insecurity, limited access to water and other resources.
Since different stakeholders perceive UPA negatively on the urban environment, this calls for research to validate its contribution to urban sustainability. Moreover, land tenure security should be considered as a measure towards the sustainable practices of UPA.