A critical analysis of the potential of urban agriculture in the Khayelitsha Mitchell’s Plain area

Nel, David (2012-03)

Thesis (MDF)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.


Poverty, which was traditionally a rural phenomenon, has become one of the main drivers behind people migrating to urban areas. It is estimated that more than 50 per cent of the global population lives in cities while the current annual growth rate of cities in sub-Saharan Africa is almost double the worldwide average. The provision of food for the growing number of poor urban citizens is a major challenge, which needs to be addressed by city authorities. As most of the urbanised poor are exposed to agriculture due to their rural backgrounds, agriculture should be viewed as a possible solution to the challenge of urban food security for the urban poor. Put differently, feeding a growing urban population living in poverty will be one of the major humanitarian and political challenges of the next century. This implies that increased pressure will be put on urban agriculture for food production inside or close to cities, especially in developing countries where poor transportation infrastructure between the cities and rural areas creates problems for food supply. This research explores the significance of urban agriculture as one of the solutions to urban poverty. The aim of this research report is to critically analyse the concept of urban agriculture and how it can contribute to urban renewal and the alleviation of poverty for the urban poor. It focuses particularly on the scope, problems and challenges of urban agriculture in the high density settlements of Khayelitsha-Mitchell’s Plain in Cape Town where widespread poverty and high unemployment intensifies the need for low cost food production for poor households. The research takes into account the lessons learned in the past and looks at the role government, individuals, community organisations, NGO’s and corporate South Africa can play in expanding urban agriculture. We look at the different types of urban agriculture and the various success factors and potential pitfalls in implementing strategies of urban agriculture. This research also takes a closer look at the various problems faced by those keen to utilise urban agriculture opportunities. This research indicates that urbanisation is inevitable and has a negative impact on the poverty levels of urban citizens due to the migration of the rural poor. This is relevant to the Western Cape and in particular, to the Cape Town townships of Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain, due to the accelerating migration from the rural Eastern Cape. The City of Cape Town is doing a fair amount of work in the field of urban agriculture through the Urban Agriculture Policy it adopted in 2007. However, this research concludes that urban agriculture in Africa, including South Africa, still does not receive the necessary recognition or support when compared to the developed world.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/97168
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