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REPORT: The Role of Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture in Enhancing Food Security and Climate Change Resilience in East and West African Cities

Discourse on the impacts of climate change at various scales indicates that the development deficit in developing countries coupled with exposure to climate risks will exacerbate vulnerability to the risks in the coming decades. Although cities occupy a small percentage (4%) of land globally, they provide habitats for over half the global population and regionally differential urbanisation is characterised by fast paced urbanisation in the Global South, particularly Africa. Characterised by the historical mix of urban development pathways, African cities are described as having grown in pseudo manner with ruralisation of urban lifestyles, particularly with respect to agriculture in cities. Resilience studies and urban poverty studies now contend that urban agriculture has a role to play based on experiences of contributing towards alleviation of poverty, but also enhancing resilience in view of climate change risks. This literature exists in scattered reports, many of which are grey, and has not been synthesised to assess the potential of urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) in enhancing food security.

Food security in urban and peri-urban areas of Africa is also a significant challenge because of high sensitivity by the urban poor and middle class to food price spikes, which are linked to global factors including extreme climate events in important cereal producing regions of the world. This research paper, The Role of Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture in Enhancing Food Security and Climate Change Resilience in East and West African Cities, performs a meta-analysis to evaluate the role that urban and peri-urban agriculture plays in enhancing urban food security in East African and West African cities, and how the provision of food within peri-urban and urban areas affects, and is affected by, climate change. The meta-analysis will also examine the environmental impacts of and environmental services provided by UPA in the context of building more resilient cities. This research effort will help to address the significant knowledge gaps that exist in the global south around urban agriculture’s role in and contribution to food and livelihood security.

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This project and publication has been produced as part of the START call for research on the theme of ‘Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security’ in Africa, with an emphasis on the sustainability of ecosystem services in Africa. Objectives of this call are to commission high quality, independent, policy-relevant and credible research to support policy making for sustainable development in the region, to build the capacities of regional research partners to conduct high level research and to create a platform for knowledge sharing at the regional level. The funding has been provided by US National Science Foundation, Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and CDKN.

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Research call information: Regional Research Call – Africa

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