The physical and social benefits of urban agriculture projects run by non-governmental organisations in Cape Town

Olivier, David William (2015-04)

Thesis (DPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Urban agriculture (UA) has always been practised in African urban centres. Only since the turn of the twentieth century, however, have development researchers turned their attention to its potential as a sustainable source of food security. Notwithstanding the initial optimism in this regard, many have questioned whether UA is viable and whether it does deliver the benefits that many espouse. This is because most of the benefits are evaluated in terms of their economic viability or amount of produce grown to sustain a family, and often ignore what benefits may be found beyond this. What this dissertation argues is that there are a range of physical and social benefits that accrue from UA that cannot necessarily be measured. Research on the ground suggests that the benefits of UA are more complex than supposed, as confirmed by a number of qualitative case studies on UA in Africa. Much attention is given to the food security and income dimensions of UA. There are, however, also ecological, empowerment and gender dimensions. Throughout Africa, UA is used primarily for food and economic security, through eating produce and trading it on the informal market. The economic benefits of UA, however, are least available to the poor and to women, due primarily to resource limitations, tenure insecurity and patriarchal cultures. While such findings suggest that the benefits of UA bypass those who need them most, it is found that these limitations may be overcome with support from non-governmental organisations (NGOs). NGOs play a key role in promoting sustainable livelihoods. This is achieved through injections of resources and investing in human and social capital. In Cape Town, UA has been supported by NGOs for many years. More recently, local government has supported this effort with a UA policy that legitimises public support through resource donations and the provision of land. The question this dissertation sought to investigate was to what extent UA is contributing to the livelihoods of those living in Cape Town‟s largest low-income area, the Cape Flats. As many of the UA projects in Cape Town are run by NGOs, the focus was on a selection of these projects. In-depth interviews and focus group discussions were held with NGOs and cultivators throughout the Cape Flats. Four different types of cultivation feature, namely home cultivators, cultivation groups, institutional cultivators and garden centres. Home cultivators operate on a small scale on the property around their dwelling, while cultivation groups and institutional cultivators use larger tracts of land. Cultivation groups operate independently, usually on council land, while institutional cultivators cultivate on behalf of the institution whose land they use. All cultivators are supported by the NGO‟s garden centres, the administrative hub of their UA programme. The findings show that some benefits of UA relate largely to the type of UA being practised. For home cultivators, UA strengthens relationships and expands networks. Institutional plots teach children to care for the environment. The economic and food security benefits of UA are evident in formal groups, and NGO-led local garden centres play a supportive role for all cultivators. Other benefits are felt by all cultivators. For example, cultivators from all types stated that UA had taught them to eat healthily and to care for the environment, and all cultivators felt an increased sense of self-worth. Furthermore, all cultivators gave produce away to those around them. A prerequisite for these benefits, however, is successful cultivation, which is only possible with the training and support offered by the NGOs. The findings suggest that NGOs are vital both for ensuring that UA has the greatest impact in low-income areas and for avoiding the limitations of UA that are evident throughout Africa. Nevertheless, the uptake and sustainability of UA in Cape Town are limited by bureaucratic hurdles to land access, limitations of donor funding and widespread attitudes of dependency in its target areas. It is therefore likely that the expansion of UA in Cape Town will remain slow until such limitations are addressed.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Stedelike landbou (SL) is nog altyd in die stedelike sentrums van Afrika beoefen. Dis egter eers sedert die begin van die twintigste eeu dat ontwikkelingsnavorsers aandag geskenk het aan SL se potensiaal as ‟n volhoubare bron van voedselsekerheid. Ondanks die aanvanklike optimisme in hierdie verband, het baie bevraagteken of SL moontlik is en of dit die voordele wat baie voorstaan, oplewer. Dit is omdat die meeste van die voordele geëvalueer is in terme van hul ekonomiese potensiaal of die opbrengs om „n familie te onderhou en ignoreer dikwels watter ander voordele daar mag wees. Wat hierdie proefskrif betoog is dat SL 'n verskeidenheid fisiese en sosiale voordele inhou, wat nie noodwendig gemeet kan word nie. Navorsing op grondvlak dui daarop dat die voordele van SL meer kompleks is as wat veronderstel word, soos bevestig deur 'n aantal kwalitatiewe gevallestudies van SL in Afrika. Baie aandag word aan die voedselsekerheid en inkomste dimensies van SL gegee. Daar is egter ook ekologiese, bemagtigings- en geslagsdimensies. Regdeur Afrika word SL hoofsaaklik vir voedselsekerheid en inkomste gebruik, deurdat die produkte geëet word en op die informele mark verhandel word. Arm mense en vroue put egter die minste ekonomiese voordele uit SL, hoofsaaklik as gevolg van hulpbronbeperkings, verblyfregonsekerheid en patriargale kulture. Terwyl sulke bevindinge daarop dui dat die voordele van SL diegene omseil wat hulle die meeste nodig het, is daar gevind dat hierdie beperkings deur ondersteuning van nieregeringsorganisasies (NRO‟s) oorkom kan word. NRO‟s speel ‟n belangrike rol in die bevordering van ‟n volhoubare lewensbestaan. Dit word bereik deur middel van skenkings van hulpbronne en belegging in menslike en sosiale kapitaal. In Kaapstad is SL vir baie jare al deur NRO‟s ondersteun. Onlangs het die plaaslike regering hierdie poging ondersteun deur ‟n SL-beleid wat openbare steun deur helpbronskenkings en die voorsiening van grond legitimeer. Die vraag wat hierdie proefskrif ondersoek het, is in watter mate SL bydra tot die lewensbestaan van diegene wat in Kaapstad se grootste laeinkomstegebied, die Kaapse Vlakte, woon. Omdat baie van die SL-projekte in Kaapstad deur NRO‟s bestuur word, was die fokus op ‟n seleksie van hierdie projekte. Diepte-onderhoude en fokusgroepgesprekke is met landbouers en NRO‟s dwarsoor die Kaapse Vlakte gehou. Vier verskillende tipes landbou kom voor, naamlik tuislandbouers, landbougroepe, institusionele landbouers en tuinsentrums. Tuislandbouers werk op ‟n klein skaal op die grond rondom om hulle woning, terwyl die landbougroepe en institusionele landbouers groter stukke grond bewerk. Landbougroepe werk onafhanklik, gewoonlik op grond wat aan die standsraad behoort, terwyl institusionele landbouers namens die instansie wat se grond hulle gebruik, verbou. Alle landbouers word deur die NRO-tuinsentrums ondersteun. Hierdie tuinsentrums dien ook as die administratiewe sentra van die NRO‟s se SL-program. Die bevindinge toon dat die voordele van SL verband hou met die tipe SL wat beoefen is. Vir die tuislandbouers versterk SL verhoudings en brei dit netwerke uit. Institusionele tuine leer kinders om vir die omgewing te sorg. Die ekonomiese en voedselsekerheidsvoordele van SL was duidelik in formele groepe, en die NRO-tuinsentrums speel ‟n ondersteunende rol vir al drie tipes. Die landbouers het ook ander voordele ervaar. Byvoorbeeld, alle soorte landbouers het genoem dat SL hulle geleer het om gesond te eet en vir die omgewing te sorg en ook dat hulle ‟n verhoogde gevoel van eiewaarde ervaar. Verder het al die landbouers van hulle oes aan mense rondom hulle weggegee. ‟n Voorvereiste vir hierdie voordele was egter suksesvolle verbouing, wat net moontlik was met die opleiding en ondersteuning wat deur die NRO‟s aangebied is. Die bevindinge dui daarop dat NRO‟s noodsaaklik is om te verseker dat SL die grootste impak in lae-inkomstegebiede kan hê, en om die beperkings van SL wat dwarsdeur Afrika duidelik is, te vermy. Nogtans word die opname en volhoubaarheid van SL in Kaapstad beperk deur burokratiese prosedures met betrekking tot toegang tot grond, beperkings van donateurs op befondsing en ‟n wydverspreide staat van afhanklikheid in die teikengebiede. Dit is dus waarskynlik dat die uitbreiding van SL in Kaapstad stadig sal bly totdat sodanige beperkings aangespreek is.

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