South Africa is experiencing increasing urbanisation and an increase in the number of the poor in urban areas and thus the number of food insecure households in these environments. Formal economic opportunities however often fail to keep pace with increase in urban population and this result in increases in informal but not officially recognised activities. Formal urban planning service provision therefore does not enhance the potential of such opportunities. Urban agriculture (UA) is viewed as one such an opportunity not sufficiently activated in urban development strategies. Urban population depends largely on cash income to access food and with unemployment increasing more urban households are unable to access food to meet their needs. Alternative ways of accessing food has become necessary. In Soshanguve close to Pretoria, South Africa, some poor families engaged farming within the township to earn a living. This study has investigated the impact of such farming on household’s food security and income generation. The study investigated an agricultural project launched in 1996 by the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) in collaboration with Gauteng Provincial Department of Agriculture (GPDA). Forty-eight participants from nine participating groups in Soshanguve were interviewed using a structured questionnaire. Farming in urban environment has been found to benefit poor households through direct saving on food purchases, income generation through sale of produced and provision of a varied range of nutritious foods. The hypothesis adopted by this study was that “urban agriculture is often not considered an “urban land use” activity by urban planning authorities and the potential of this economic rationale strategy to support urban food security is not sufficiently exploited. This result in lack of adequate land use planning for urban agriculture and weak support to urban farmers. Urban agriculture is therefore constrained by lack of integrated development approach. The theoretical framework for this study includes the following: (i) UA is derived from the rational resource allocation of (poor) urban dwellers who are not in a position to earn sufficient income from non farming to provide a sustainable urban family livelihood; (ii) UA can be explained by cost saving and reduction in transaction costs from a consumer viewpoint (point of consumption to point of food acquisition); (iii) UA is often a temporary survival strategy to allow a fall back position if sufficient urban income is not generated; (iv) UA is practised mainly to address household food security with surpluses sold in the market. Major finding of this study includes the findings on approach and operation applied by the farmers. The project has the potential to be successful because the benefits are tangible and direct. Farmers in Soshanguve experienced a host of interlinked problems but the project only addressed the information and input problems. The project lacks monitoring and evaluation framework. The development of small farmers should not only focus on short-term assistance through technical training and input supply. The following recommendations were proposed for the development of a sustainable and viable UA sector. The main recommendation is the need to create an enabling environment through the development of appropriate policies. Such policies should <ul><li> Recognize agriculture as a land use activity in urban environments and provide sufficient support services to the urban small-scale agricultural sector.</li> <li> Encourage investment on infrastructure and technology development required for UA development</li> <li> Co-ordinate agricultural activities within urban and between urban and rural areas</li> <li> Involve beneficiaries in the planning and implementation of projects</li> <li> Establish permanent structures and institutions that will promote urban agriculture activities and develop measures to counter negative impacts of UA</li>
Dissertation (M Inst Agrar (Agricultural Economics))--University of Pretoria, 2007.