Urban agriculture significantly affects food security, income generation, and employment. Unfortunately many cities often overlook the important role of urban agriculture and some make agricultural activities illegal in urban areas. Dar es Salaam City Council (DCC) signaled its recognition of the importance of Urban Agriculture by dedicating a full exhibition tent at World Habitat Day in October to Urban Agriculture.
The tent was hosted by Sustainable Cities International and show cased the work that SCI has been undertaking in collaboration with (DCC) the three Municipal Councils of Ilala, Kinondoni and Temeke to legitimize urban agriculture. “This was the first time that urban agriculture was featured as one of the themes for World Habitat Day celebration indicating that the work of SCI is beginning to have an impact on the big picture of urban agriculture in Dar es Salaam.” Says Morgen Zivhave programme coordinator for SCI in Dar es Salaam.
The purpose of the World Habitat Day is to reflect on the state of towns and cities and remind residents and stakeholders about their collective responsibility to the issue of human habitat. “The exhibition on World Habitat Day provided an important platform to explain the progress made in the formalization process and implementation to a wide stakeholder audience. Many have a planning background and were originally was skeptical about urban farming. The exhibition also showed other initiatives supporting urban agriculture such as the establishment of the farmer’s network and the composting process.” says Zivhave.
The DCC in collaboration with SCI also produced the Dar es Salaam Citywide Strategic Plan on Urban Agriculture that was printed and distributed on World Habitat Day. It included information of the importance of urban agriculture, challenges faced, regulations, and areas designated for urban agriculture by municipalities. The document combines strategies of urban agriculture from all three municipalities of Dar es Salaam: Ilala, Kinondoni and Temeke.
Jitihada Farmer Group Demonstration Project
One of the Urban Agriculture projects featured in the exhibition tent was the Jitihada Farmer Group Demonstration Project. The purpose of this demonstration project, funded by SCI, was to pilot the implementation of the Municipal Strategic Plan for Urban Agriculture in the Kinondoni Municipal Council by assisting with settling the Jitihada Farmer Group on a ten-acre piece of land, Kawe Garden. The group has signed a two-year agreement with the Kinondoni Municipal Council to farm this land.
Through this demonstration project SCI has had the opportunity to work closely with the Kinondoni Municipality in settling the Jitihada farmer group. Israel Mabiki, the principal agricultural training officer of Kinondoni municipality said, “Sustainable Cities International has sensitized politicians and decision makers in Dar es Salaam to visualize the importance of UA to an extent of accepting legitimization of UA in the city to the level of allowing UA to feature in the important events in the city like the world habitat day 2012. Land tenure system in the city had no provision for UA which in most cases is being conducted by the poor urbanites.”
Tanzania Food Gardening Network
The Tanzania Food Gardening Network (TaFoGaNet) was also show cased at the exhibition tent. The network, which was originally established by SCI, is now a formally registered non-governmental organization. The network membership is primarily made up of small urban agriculture farmer groups in Dar es Salaam.
A major focus of the network is on advocacy of behalf of urban farmers. The network also promotes training and capacity building of urban farmers and facilitates meetings between groups to facilitate exchange of learning.