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close this folder Chapter 4. Kenya: urban agriculture in Kenya
View the document Conceptual issues
View the document Political economy of urban farming in Kenya
View the document Urban crop farming
View the document Inputs and commodity exchange
View the document Urban livestock
View the document Nutrition
View the document Policy implications
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Chapter 4. Kenya: urban agriculture in Kenya

Diana Lee-Smith and Pyar Ali Memon

Cultivation and livestock keeping are widely practiced in the towns of Africa. Spatially juxtaposed with other urban activities and competing for land, labour, and resources, urban agriculture (UA) makes a vital contribution to the household economy of the urban poor. Although UA is nearly ubiquitous, it has remained almost "invisible." Until recently, it has been generally ignored by academics and planners. This reflects the fact that subsistence production, undertaken in the domestic economy, has not been considered to be of great significance.

The article analyzes the characteristics of UA in Kenya within a wider conceptual and socioeconomic context and is based on a recent survey by the Mazingira Institute (Lee-Smith et al. 1987). The survey encompassed both food and fuel, the two major components of the domestic economy in Africa. This article, however, only focuses on the food component of the survey-crops and livestock. It emphasizes the significance of incorporating this consequential aspect of urban reality into urban theory, and it also raises questions of policy for sustainable urban development.