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Urban and Periurban Vegetable Production Systems_Are They Dependable Alternatives for Supporting Food Security Program

Urban and Periurban Vegetable Production Systems_Are They Dependable Alternatives for Supporting Food Security Program

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URBAN AND PERIURBAN VEGETABLE PRODUCTION SYSTEMS:ARE THEY DEPENDABLE ALTERNATIVES FOR SUPPORTINGFOOD SECURITY PROGRAM?
Witono Adiyoga
 
Research Institute for Vegetables, Jalan Tangkuban Perahu 517 Lembang,Bandung - 40391, West Java, Indonesia
ABSTRACT
 
 Anticipating the future vegetable demand pressure which is expected to be especially high in and around urbanareas, greater attention has been increasingly put to the improvements of urban and peri-urban productionsystems. In this context, a study was initiated to characterize urban and peri-urban vegetable production inBandung City, West Java, Indonesia. Opportunities and constraints in growing vegetables in those two productionsystems are highlighted. A concerted effort to promote large potentialities and advantages of the urban and peri-urban production systems that can lead to a strong commitment of further developing sustainable vegetableproduction systems is undoubtedly needed.
INTRODUCTION
 The economic crisis in Indonesia has greatly increased the vulnerability of largesections of the population to food insecurity. Food prices have risen sharply, whilst purchasingpower has fallen due to rising unemployment and falling real wages. This crisis mainlyaffected food security in urban areas, through job losses and the consequent decline inhousehold incomes and access to food. However, with increasing migration, the problem isspreading to rural areas. As most migrants are landless and have few savings or assets, their susceptibility to food shortages is becoming more pronounced. Despite the rise in ruralpoverty, the nutritional situation of the unemployed urban poor still gives most cause for concern. In these areas, in spite of the prospects of modest recovery this year, largesegments of the population remain severely exposed to food insecurity, as their ability to copehas been heavily eroded. Some studies indicate alarming food related problems emerging inurban areas, where the incidence of micro-nutrient deficiencies, particularly among mothersand young children (under five year olds) has risen sharply and the prevalence of wasting hasincreased. The consequences of micro-nutrient deficiency may be severe -- generations of school children unable to learn can grow up to be a nation's burden instead of its strength.The capacity for fruitful work is diminished, precisely where and when it is most needed.Hence, micro-nutrient deficiency may lock society in a cycle of misery and underachievement.Vegetables are the major source of most micro-nutrients and the only practical andsustainable way to ensure their supply. Vegetables can provide widely accessible sources oessentials vitamins and minerals, as well as supplementary protein and calories. Somevegetables, such as roots and tubers and leafy greens, are capable of producing protein andcalories at rates (per hectare, per day) comparable to those of the most efficient staple cerealcrops. Vegetables promote intake of essential nutrients from other foods by making themmore palatable. Vegetables provide dietary fiber to improve digestion and health, and they areessential for properly balanced diets. Thus, vegetables are a critical, irreplaceable dietarycomponent that can break the deficiency cycle and produce healthy population. Theimportance of vegetables to health is becoming better known. In their definition of food
 
 
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security, the FAO and WHO advocate the need for balanced and safe diets -- calories aloneare not enough, vegetables are the critical ingredient to build healthy and productive societies.The definition of food security is not only emphasizing on food availability, but also on foodaccessibility. It also explicitly incorporates the need for a
healthy diet 
, complete with necessaryvitamins and proteins, rather than simply sufficient calories. This implies that: (a) food suppliesmust be available year-round; (b) households must have both physical and economic accessto a sufficient quantity, quality and variety of foods; and (c) primary household providers andcare-givers must have the time, knowledge and motivation to ensure that the nutritional needsof all household members are met.In Indonesia, with a total vegetable production of 7.9 million t in 1996 (on an area of 928,000 ha), vegetable availability is approximately 38 kg/year per person. This per capitaavailability is clearly insufficient to meet the FAO’s nutritional recommendation of 200 g of vegetables per capita per day (65 kg/year). Indonesia is expected to face vegetable demandswhich increasingly exceed supplies (Jansen, 1992). This deficit is likely to become moreserious due to a virtually stagnant supply and the estimated total population growth thatremains at an average of 1.9% per annum until the year of 2000. Hence, if there are nochanges in the supply growth patterns, per capita availability of vegetables in Indonesia maycontinue to decrease. As estimated by the World Bank, vegetable consumption in Indonesia will increase byan average of 3.9% per year during the period of 1995-2010 (Pasandaran & Hadi, 1994). Ingeneral, it is obvious that vegetable production must be increased to remedy presentinadequate availability and to keep pace with the income and population growth. It should benoted though that the future demand pressure is expected to be especially high in and aroundurban areas. This expectation is actually supported by some facts, such as (a) urbancommunities will expand as rural population seeks higher incomes in the towns and cities -World Bank’s projection indicates that in 2005, urban population will increase approximately37%., (b) high dependence of people in urban areas on market supplies for their foodconsumption, (c) people in urban areas usually have higher incomes and faster income growththan rural areas. Urban population growth in Indonesia is projected approximately 7.4% per annum, while in rural areas is expected to decrease further at (-) 1.6% per annum. Therefore,per capita vegetable consumption expenditure for urban population is expected four timeshigher than that of the rural population (van Lieshout, 1992).Bandung (capital city of West Java Province) is considered as the second largest city(after Jakarta) in Indonesia. This city depends to a large extent on small-scale vegetableproducers located in and around the city (up to 5-20 km from the city center). Urban vegetablecultivation is not new in Bandung, rather it has been considered as a food production strategyto supplement food supply. Dwellers in this area, especially small-scale commercial farmers,grow different types of vegetables to meet the increasing demand. Urban vegetableproduction system is gaining more attention, since it supplies fresh perishable vegetables,generates jobs, allows economical use of even small pieces of land, can adjust quickly tomarket needs, and can recycle urban waste. Notwithstanding these advantages, there is agrowing concern on the sustainability of Bandung urban vegetable production system, since itslink to the urban planning is not well-developed yet.
URBAN VEGETABLE PRODUCTION SYSTEM
 
 
In general, urban production system is characterized by: (a) non-commercially-orientedvegetable growers, and (b) commercially-oriented vegetable growers.
 
 
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Non-commercial vegetable growers are those who basically cultivate vegetables toimprove family diet and intensify food production at the home level. Tomato, hot pepper,pai-tsai, and lettuce are some of the common vegetables cultivated in urban gardening.Some of the methods used in urban gardening are: (a) pot gardening, (b) box gardening,(c) plastic bag gardening, and (d) front-yard and backyard gardening.
 
Urban gardening is usually managed conventionally with a relatively simple technology.Some gardeners are not even used to grow vegetables using inorganic fertilizers andpesticides. Even though home gardening has been advocated in Indonesia for manydecades, field observations indicate that there is still a wide gap between home gardeningadvocacy and actual practice by households. This gap is mainly attributed to lack ogarden space and time, especially among urban dwellers.
 
Commercial vegetable growers are those who basically cultivate vegetables for the marketas a source of income. Tomato, hot pepper, yard-long bean, kidney bean, eggplant,cucumber, kangkong, spinach, and lettuce are some of the common vegetables cultivatedcommercially in the urban areas. Farms are small (< 0.2 ha) and only one-tenths of whichare de facto owned. The other 80% of the cultivated land is either rented or sharecropped.
 
Multiple-cropping is the most common system used in growing vegetables. Vegetables areusually cultivated as one component in a rice-based cropping system. Some major cropping patterns in urban areas are:J F M A M J J A S O N D
fish
 
rice
 
tomatoes, cucumber, kidney bean
 
fish
 
kangkong
 
rice
 
fish
 
 
Even though growing vegetables is more profitable than cultivating other crops, farmersare still consistently following the existing dominant cropping pattern, since vegetables areconsidered as high-cost and high-risk crops. Further observation indicates that the lack of appropriate technology, especially the availability of quality seed, contributes significantlyto the slow development of urban vegetable production system.
 
Land shortages because of the demand for land by other urban systems and uncertaintiescaused by the present tenure arrangements are clearly two important factors that shouldbe carefully considered in deciding the feasibility of further developing the urbanproduction system to increase vegetable supply.
PERI-URBAN VEGETABLE PRODUCTION SYSTEM
 
 
Peri-urban areas under study are basically highland areas. Land holding for about 70%farmers ranges between 0.05 - 0.50 ha. The tenure status in peri-urban areas is owned(30%), rented (60%), and sharecropped (10%). The number of farmers who cultivateshis/her own land in peri-urban areas is higher than that in urban areas.
 
 A wide variety of vegetables are grown in peri-urban areas, such as tomato, hot pepper,shallots, snap bean, kidney bean, yard-long bean, bunching onion, cabbage, chinesecabbage, and cauliflower. Different cropping systems, namely, sequential, relay, row

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