The Covid-19 pandemic has made the links between health and socio-economic
wellbeing ever more visible. Across Africa, it has taken a major toll on livelihoods and food security. Coupled with restrictions on movement, the ongoing crisis gravely impacted on poor urban residents making food not only more difficult to access, but also increasingly unaffordable.
Increased uncertainty in urban food systems led to the growing popularity of kitchen and community gardens in urban areas as well as the rise in the use of innovative digital marketing and food distribution systems. As urban farms are finding their way into people’s homes, community gardens and unused city spaces, they bring a huge potential in improving access to healthy and diverse food, generating income, promoting sustainable livelihoods, strengthening communities, and building resilience to climate change.
However, the integration of agriculture in urban- and peri-urban development planning requires enacting coherent policies that span, among other areas, zoning laws, agricultural extension, land tenure arrangements, and inclusive democratic processes. Spatial planning needs to consider adjacent communities in the urban-peri-urban-rural continuum.
With a focus on the four dimensions of food security: availability, access, utilisation and stability, this programme explores strategies for leveraging the potential of urban and peri-urban agriculture in Africa. Through the co-designing and co-developing process with our local partners, we identify entry points across all dimensions of sustainability (social, economic, and environmental). Furthermore, as digitalisation is playing an ever-greater role in urban and peri-urban food systems, we strive to identify and foster an enabling environment for vulnerable groups to benefit from digital transformation.