An investigation into the socio-economic factors that promote urban agriculture in Zimbabwe: The case of residents of Sakubva Chisamba Singles in Mutare City.
Chadyiwanembwa , Tugwell
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This study aimed at investigating the socio-economic factors that promote urban agriculture. As such, the study sought to establish the prevalence of urban agriculture, explore the socio-economic factors that promote urban agriculture, and identify and suggest ways to strengthen urban agricultural activities of urban residents. This information was gathered from a simple random sample of fifty residents of Sakubva Chisamba Singles in Mutare City engaging in urban agriculture, using a interview schedule. Additional information came from purposively selected key informants namely, Councillor of Sakubva ward four (4), Caritas Mutare field officer, AGRITEX officer, EMA officer, and City Council Official who were interviewed using interview guides. The study discovered that urban agriculture is an idea whose time has come. It was found out that the nature of urban agriculture as a household livelihood strategy makes it imperative to have middle-aged, mature, Christ-like, fatherly and motherly figures to engage in urban agriculture. In a sense, the study revealed that urban agriculture is a female dominated livelihood activity. More often than not, residents had stayed more than five years in the area, had originated from both rural areas and other urban locations, were poorly educated and unemployed, and had various informal livelihood strategies in the form of urban agriculture, petty trade, and ‘piece jobs’ where they were assured of both subsistence and a cash income. Urban agriculture was being conducted for food, income, employment, and to make use of readily available resources. It came out from the study that urban agriculture requires a complete input package, council permission as well as training and extension services. Urban agriculture involves crop and livestock production on-plot or off-plot throughout the year, and there is no security of produce. Availability of land, official support for urban agriculture, affordability of urban agriculture, vitality of urban agriculture in providing food and income as well as accessibility of extension services explained the prominence of urban agriculture. Be it as it may be, the study unveiled that urban agricultural activities of residents could be strengthened by knowledge of guidelines on urban agriculture, the positive attitude of residents, and active participation of stakeholders. To this end, the study recommended that efforts should be made to enhance access of urban residents to land, legalise urban agriculture, improve technology, increase extension services coverage, improve market linkages for produce, and to ensure collective responsibility to strengthening urban agriculture. It was highlighted that social work could contribute to urban agriculture in the area of advocacy, policy formulation, social analysis, and resource mobilisation. In the future, it was urged that research studies should focus on the implication of urban agriculture remaining illegal, and strengthening capacity of residents to engage effectively in urban agriculture.
access to land