FAO's role in urban agriculture
Urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) can be defined as the growing of plants and the raising of animals within and around cities.
Urban and peri-urban agriculture provides food products from different types of crops (grains, root crops, vegetables, mushrooms, fruits), animals (poultry, rabbits, goats, sheep, cattle, pigs, guinea pigs, fish, etc.) as well as non-food products (e.g. aromatic and medicinal herbs, ornamental plants, tree products).
UPA can make an important contribution to household food security, especially in times of crisis or food shortages.
Produce is either consumed by the producers, or sold in urban markets, such as the increasingly popular weekend farmers’ markets found in many cities.
Because locally produced food requires less transportation and refrigeration, it can supply nearby markets with fresher and more nutritious products at competitive prices.
Consumers - especially low-income residents - enjoy easier access to fresh produce, greater choice and better prices.
Vegetables have a short production cycle; some can be harvested within 60 days of planting, so are well suited for urban farming.
Garden plots can be up to 15 times more productive than rural holdings. An area of just one square metre can provide 20 kg of food a year.
Urban vegetable growers spend less on transport, packaging and storage, and can sell directly through street food stands and market stalls. More income goes to them instead of middlemen.
Urban agriculture provides employment and incomes for poor women and other disadvantaged groups.
Horticulture can generate one job every 100 sq m garden in production, input supply, marketing and value-addition from producer to consumer.
However, in many countries, UPA goes unrecognized in agricultural policies and urban planning.