Urban Agriculture is an Effective Countermeasure to Food Insecurity in Cities
During the COVID-19 crisis, a significant number of Nairobi residents relied on urban agriculture for a regular supply of food. City lockdowns put a halt to movements in and out of Nairobi, disrupting urban-rural supply chain links and creating food shortages which put much of the urban population at risk.
Institutional support from the Nairobi Food Systems Directorate helped create links between key stakeholders in the food and agriculture sector within Nairobi.
Lessons learned from the urban agricultural experience during the COVID-19 crisis include: the importance of a localized food system and short supply chains. The localized food system integrates food production, processing, distribution and waste management. The direct (straight from the farm) supply chain has made it possible for consumers to afford safe food.
While the COVID-19 crisis challenged existing systems, it also showed us that localized food systems and short food supply chains are the future of food secure urban communities. We should encourage the design and implementation of policies that support these systems and supply chains.
Legal support for urban agriculture is handed down in the Urban Agriculture Promotion and Regulation Act of 2015 which mandates that the authorities provide water and space for food production in informal settlements. We should work to reclaim green spaces in accordance with the provisions of this Act, which provides for urban agriculture to thrive.
Credit to Sam Ikua, Mazingira Institute.