You are on page 1of 4

POLICY BRIEF POLICY BRIEF

UNIVERSITY OF BOTSWANA

MAKING URBAN AGRICULTURE EXTENSION WORK


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Urban agriculture extension has taken a demand driven approach because of the market liberalization demands. The study that underpin this policy brief shows that only 18% of the urban farmers receive government extension workers on their farms quarterly an indication that the demand driven government extension service may not be regular in urban centres. The demand for need based urban agriculture extension may still exist in urban areas especially where majority of the farmers (78%) are primary school dropouts. Farmers also receive agriculture extension from various actors; civil society actors, private service providers, the media, production departments and the Resident District Commissioner o ces, presenting a need to coordinate such multiple service providers. This policy brief argues for agriculture extension reforms in urban centres; concurrent promotion of demand and need driven agriculture extension; education of both technical and political leaders in local governments on the importance of urban agriculture to urban economies; institutionalization of farm radio programmes; ensuring guided media information pull outs and intertwining extension with agriculture research. Such policy options will go a long way to boost urban agriculture extension.

RATIONALE FOR REFORMS IN URBAN AGRICULTURE EXTENSION WORK


The study on the contribution of agricultural policies towards enlargement of livelihood outcomes of urban farmers, demonstrates that urban extension service is mainly demand driven rather than need driven. FAO (2005) de nes extension as the function of providing need-and demand-based knowledge and skills to the population with an objective of improving their livelihoods. The study shows that only 50% of the farmers knew where the agriculture urban agriculture o ces were located in their sub-counties. Agriculture extension o ces are ill facilitated, as such, extension workers often ask farmers to organize and transport them to the communities. There seems to be less appreciation of urban agriculture among politicians to the extent that the ordinances that were made to control and guide agricultural practices in Kampala, for instance have not been implemented since 2006. The agriculture department budget commonly underperform, the activity plans are not regularly implemented because of lack of funding to conduct the agriculture extension. Only 18% of the urban farmers receive government extension workers on their farms at least quarterly. Most farmers (73%) receive agriculture information on agriculture from friends and from the public media (59%) compared to government extension workers. Kampala has had parallel extension services, conducted by the Resident District Commissioner and the technical team at the district/ division with minimal coordination. FAO (2005) noted that extension function is also important for the welfare of farmers, no matter who performs it as long as it is done satisfactorily. Results of this study show that extension service providers can bene t from improved organization, coordination and inter-linkages.

METHODOLOGY OF THE STUDY


The recommendations in this policy brief arose from a research conducted in two urban centres in Uganda i.e. Kampala City Council and Mbale Municipality. This study focused on assessing the contribution of Government of Uganda agricultural policies in expanding the livelihood assets of the urban farmers. The two urban centres are among the biggest in Uganda. Kampala city is the largest city in Uganda with about 2.3 million people. It is the capital city of Uganda. Meanwhile, Mbale municipality is among the three largest urban centres in Uganda with about 70,000 people. The city of Kampala and the Municipality of Mbale experience a natural rainfall cycle that allows the growth of most foods produced within the tropics.

This study used an exploratory and a case-study design whereby both qualitative and quantitative approaches and methods were utilised. The study involved review of literature on agriculture, agriculture policies and urban agriculture policies and practices. Primary data was collected from Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), district and urban authorities, agriculture o cers, community development o cers, farmers leaders and urban farmers.

POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS
1. Encourage concurrent promotion of demand and need driven agriculture extension The current demand driven urban agriculture extension has bene ted fewer urban farmers i.e. those who can demand and a ord to provide transport to agriculture extensionists to their farms. Despite market led economies, it is important to reform the extension to bene t urban farmers who may not fully bene t from liberalized economies. Extension is a public service, thus becomes an entitlement to urban farmers. City authorities need to categorise the agriculture community to be able to apply the need based approaches on those who cannot a ord to demand for extension services. To do this, there must be clear data base on urban farmers through regular census and data collection. Extension o cials as a requirement must engage in the two aspects of agriculture extension and report accordingly. All urban local authorities should be equipped with relevant numbers of technical o cers including sheries, crop, animal, orists, agronomists so as to boost agriculture. Urban authorities need to make strong political and nancial commitments towards need based extension to bene t majority of farmers. 2. Provide education to leaders on the importance of urban agriculture Leaders need to appreciate the contribution of urban agriculture to the livelihoods of urban dwellers and to the local economies. Although, majority 74% of urban farmers had another source of income other than farming, 16% fully depended on urban farming as their sole source of income. Thus, urban agriculture supplements peoples incomes but also is important for survival for a big percentage of people. The issue of political will is important in revamping urban agriculture to bene t many farmers. The production to deliberately educate both technical and political leaders on the importance of urban agriculture and the need for support to develop quality extension services. Production departments need to compile brief gures and facts regarding the contribution of urban agriculture to local economies and use them to in uence the decisions and actions of urban authorities. The local government committees on agriculture should continuously educate the entire council on the importance of urban agriculture and lobby for budgets that can perform or functional budgets. 3. Institute farm radio programmes Results of this study indicate that 59% of urban farmers acquire agriculture information from the media. The proliferation of several FM radios should be used at the advantage of farmers. As a matter of policy government should require radio management to provide free air space to technical o cials to o er technical advice to farmers. This could be a call in programme where professors, researchers, experienced farmers and other stakeholders can o er agriculture related information to the population. Call-in programmes would help to immediately provide solutions to the farmers. The revolution in information technology should be used as a means in agriculture extension. Information is important to introduce farmers to better agronomical and agro-processing practices. The production departments together with marketing department have to manage such air space for the bene t of the farmers. Appropriate timing especially evenings and lunch hours are anticipated to be appropriate times of the day to reach the urban farmers.

4. Avail guided media information products Quality and validity of information accessed through the media need to be certi ed. Generally media was viewed as one of the major sources of agriculture related information for urban farmers. These included news paper pull outs, TV programmes, and Internet information. This is an indication that the urban population has access to these media platforms. MAAIF together with agriculture teaching and research institutions need to establish mechanisms to control and assure content quality of the news paper pull outs and TV programmes. Government need to demand that media houses consult MAAIF on their agriculture related information products to the masses. The media houses together with MAAIF should organize short courses for particular journalists to educate them on a regular basis on new technologies for urban agriculture. These are good practices that will enable the farmers to be feed on relevant and quality information important to increase production, control pests and diseases and access markets for their produce. 5. Intertwine extension with agriculture research Extension is an essential aspect for research and development although now are currently being viewed and practiced independently of each other. Study ndings show that for those projects where urban agriculture extensions have worked together with research institutions and the communities, through an action research, such extension has been bene cial. Both farmers and the research institutions gain trust in extension and the extension workers are able to gain research skills. Government should fund urban agriculture researches that focus on developing useful technologies and strategies relevant to local contexts. The extension should focus on enhancing acceptance and adoption of those technologies by users. The extension services need the backstopping of strong applied agricultural research institutions to e ectively serve the farming communities. Therefore the production department need to formally maintain strong working relationships with research institutions located in their locations. The production departments need to coordinate with universities in delivery of agriculture extension and research outreach programmes. Linkage with research institutions will also enable the production departments to access funding through research projects.

CONCLUSION
Urban agriculture can work better with appreciation of agriculture as a critical component of livelihoods of urban farmers and urban economies. Government need to utilize the revolution of information technology to reform the government extension service delivery and establish policy guidelines that requires di erent extension providers to o er quality services.

RECOMMENDED FURTHER READING


Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry & Fisheries (2009) National Agricultural Policy Unpublished; Draft for discussion (June 2009, Kampala). Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry & Fisheries (2010). Agriculture for food and income security: agriculture sector development strategy and investment plan: 2010/11 2014/15; Kampala: Government of Uganda Publications. Kampala City Council (2005). The Kampala City Urban Agriculture Ordinance: A Guideline; Kampala: KUSSALCC and Urban Harvest Publishers. Rivera,W.M. and G. Alex (2003). Pluralism, Emergent Priorities and the Central Role of Government in Extension Reform; in: Extension and Rural Development: International Case Studies and Emerging Trends. World Bank. Washington, DC. Swanson, B. E., Bentz, R. P., and Sofranko, A. J. (1998) (ed) Improving agricultural extension: reference manual; FAO, Urban: university of Illinois. Tindiwensi, Dan (2002). The challenges to construction industry development in Uganda, 10th symposium construction innovation and global competitiveness, CRC press.

RESEARCH TEAM
Sebastain Bigabwenkya-Department of Human Resource Management and Organizational Studies, Uganda Management Institute Rose B. Namara- Department of Research, Uganda Management Institute Benon B. Basheka- Department of Higher Degrees, Uganda Management Institute Japheth Kwiringira - Department of Sociology, Kyambogo University Edrisa Mutebi - Department of Internal Medicine-endocrinology section, Makerere University

This Policy Brief is based on Research supported by the Association of African Universities, Mobilising Regional Capacity Initiative (MRCI) Programme under Project No. MRCI 310 with funding from DFID.