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September 28th, 2017 / Business Day, South Africa

All across Africa, populations are growing rapidly. Many people are vulnerable to malnutrition, limited healthcare and high rates of unemployment. As a result, people are streaming towards cities hoping to find jobs and earn an income.

According to the UN, in 2013, sub-Saharan Africa’s annual urban growth rate was 3.6% — almost double the world average. As this migration takes place, an increasing number of urban gardens and farms are taking root too.

This growth in urban agriculture is helping poor people cope with food scarcity and hunger. These urban populations are taking control of much of their own food production, growing crops or raising livestock in backyards or on vacant lots. This helps alleviate hunger and offers people a viable income as they find markets for their produce.

In turn, this reduces the economic burden on productive communities and opens up opportunities as urban informal markets gain traction. Across Africa, stories of resourcefulness in urban agriculture abound as people fight for a livelihood.

Much is being achieved through sheer necessity. Imagine what could be achieved with support, knowledge and resources. Roadside traders could be transformed into farmers as community vegetable gardens created along roads and rivers are converted into city farms, vertical window food gardens and horizontal pipe or water gardens.

Teaching young people to implement urban agriculture with modern methods would improve their yields and income potential and give them the confidence they are struggling to achieve through meaningful employment elsewhere. Read more