1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The rapid rate of urban growth in Third World countries is a cause for concern. Whereas in 1960, only 22% of the population of Third World countries lived in Urban Area, the figure is projected to increase to 44% by the new millennium (Anderson 1994). The situation is particularly alarming in Sub-Saharan Africa where, although about 70% of thepopulation still live and work in rural areas, the average annual urban growth rate of 4.8% between 1980 and 1993 was more rapid (World Bank, 1995).
Past experience of cities in developed countries suggest that the future sustainable development and political stability of the Third World cities will depend upon food supplies for burgeoning populations (Peddison et al 1990; Walton and Seddon,1994). There has been a growing interest in recent years in the considerable potential of agriculture in and around the large cities of Sub-Saharan African (SSA), as one possible element in solving the problem of future food supply. The International Food Policy Research Institute opined that “One way to help ward off hunger among low-income households of the future may be through ‘UrbanAgriculture’, the farming of small plot of land available in urban environments or on the perimeter of the city” (IFPRI, 1996).
Eqziabler et al (1994), stress the importance of urban agriculture for many reasons, including provision of employment, food supply, supplementing income and producing important nutrition not normally available to low-income households. Urban Agriculture, defined as production inthe home or plots in urban or Peri-urban areas, is more widespread and important than generally thought. Some believe that it is not only potentially significant source of income, food, energy and micro nutrients for family members but that it can also benefit the environment by providing a way to use solid waste and water.
The United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) defined Urban Agricultureas “an industry that processes and markets food fuel, largely in response to the daily demand of customers within a town, city or metropolis, on land and water dispersed throughout the urban and peri-urban area, applying intensive production methods, using natural resources and urban wastes, to yield a diversity of crops and livestock. According to the World Bank (2002), Urban Agriculture is asignificant economic activity central to the lives of hundreds of millions of people throughout the world. There is evidence here and abroad that the potential of Urban Agriculture for food security is real. The United Nations Development Programme estimates that 15% of food worldwide is grown in cities; the opportunities exist to significantly increase this percentage.
African Urban Areas have been hard hit by declining economies and the resulting structural adjustment policies, the cost of which has been disproportionately felt by the urban poor. Life in the urban areas has become more expensive while employment in the formal sector has decreased and real wages have not kept with prices or have even declined in absolute terms. (African Study Centre,2006). Many urban households are experiencing improvement in their purchasing power by diversifying their income sources. A wide range of activities are being employed, among which is urban farming. This is practiced everywhere: in people’s compound, along streets and river banks, under power lines, or any piece of empty space.
In the 50 years history of Nigeria agricultural development planning,urban farming has not been recognized or promoted as a feasible means of improving urban food security and the urban environment, or of increasing employment opportunities in township and cities. This is probably because town planning laws appear to have derived entirely from the “work camp” or township pattern of colonial days where no provision was made for agro-residential planning for even...