Published by City Farmer, Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture


Urban Agriculture Supportive Policies In Latin America

Isabel Maria Madaleno
(PhD in Geography)
Tropical Institute
Lisbon Portugal


Agriculture is an old urban function, doomed after the first Industrial Revolution. However, in developing countries it never ceased to exist and nowadays it is welcomed in most developed countries too, for urbanites feel more and more compelled to regain the lost bond with nature. Regarding poor Latin American communities, urban agriculture is widely seen as an alternative survival strategy, because while it produces food and improves household's nutrition, the activity can also generate income, jobs, additionally providing self-respect and hope for a better future. The table presents several practical and current experiences of urban and peri-urban agriculture integration into city development and urban land use in Latin America, due to friendly public policies, systematizing and resuming what is available in recent literature, together with the author's own research results.

Urban Agriculture Public Promotion Policies In Latin America

National Havana - Cuba - Delivery of land in usufruct;
- Seeds distribution facilities;
- Technical and financial support to cooperatives;
- Extension services and research institutions training
National San José - Costa Rica - Creation and support given to pedagogic farms;
- Tolerance of urban private gardeners activities;
- About 60% of the metropolitan area is UA dominated.
National Argentina - Governmental agency was created to promote UA, an internationally financed program intended to support community gardeners, named PRO-HUERTA;
Local Buenos Aires, Argentina - Science and research departments together with extension services are active in the capital-city.
Local Rosario, Argentina - Organic waste recycling public project for red-earth-worm production and vermicompost used as a fertiliser on household plots, balconies, terraces and community farms is working.
National Lima - Peru - Cooperation with non-governmental organiza-tions (NGOs); - Seeds distribution;
- Technical training;
- Promotion of micro livestock (rabbits and ducks) integrated with field and tree crops;
- Support to community gardening.
National Santiago - Chile - Non-Governmental organizations tolerance as to UA promotion in poor neighbourhoods;
- University and research departments, extension services support to training;
- The Centre for Education and Training has demonstration city gardens where container horticulture, walls vine culture are being tested as highly intensive farming systems for small spaces.
Local Bogotá - Colombia - Support to cooperatives of production in poor neighbourhoods;
- Technological assistance, with UNDP financial help, to hydroponics' vegetable production.
Local Cuenca - Ecuador - Stimulus is given by a municipal project to horticulture, fruit culture, green house vegetable production and also micro livestock, through the usage of organic waste recycling systems in family farms, schools, on private and public land;
- Financial and technical assistance from UN organizations (PGU-HABITAT and FAO) together with NGOs.
Local Mexico City (Metropolitan Region) - Mexico - Research and technology institutions training;
- Legalization of cattle raisers (namely milk producers) in peripheral neighbourhoods and financial capacitation for dairy products transformation;
- Financial assistance to organic vegetables growers, household chicken raisers and flower peri-urban farmers;
- Promotion of cactus farming in boxes and pots on rooftops and patios; - Restoration program for the "chinampas", declared World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO;
- Provision of irrigation systems to peri-urban farming with treated waste water, a municipal service;
- Expo's and markets organization for local urban and peri-urban produce promotion.
State Pará - Brazil (N) - Support to peri-urban, rural chicken and duck raisers in this Eastern Amazonian Region;
- State governmental agency gives away a set of birds for each selected family and also training.
Local Belém - Brazil (N) - Promotion of duck raisers in a peripheral island named Cotijuba, by the municipality;
- Creation and support to city farms located in the outskirts of the city, particularly in the Northern island of Mosqueiro:
-fruit trees plantation; -annual crops, like horticulture and cassava; -provision of seeds and nursed trees;
-continuous technical monitoring;
-water and electricity;
-resettlement and shelter provision to few selected poor families.
Local Rio Branco - Brazil (N) Creation of the Municipal Pole for Agro-Forestry Production in the Western Amazonian capital of Acre state:
-resettlement of slum dwellers to plots existent inside the municipality;
-technical and equipment support from extension services and research institutions;
-cooperative organization stimulus;
-seeds and animals distribution;
-help with construction materials for permanent houses edification, under certain time permanence conditions imposed to the families;
-truck supply for the produce transportation to main markets in the city.
Local Fortaleza - Brazil (NE) - Promotion of the Live Pharmacies project, which distributes seeds, medicinal herbs and shrubs for front and backyard plantation, intended to stimulate domestic and popular plant therapies;
- Provision of training by University and research institutions from this North-Eastern Region;
- Support to fruit and ornamental trees plantation in order to benefit the city with shade, oxygen and green spaces.
Local Teresina - Brazil (NE) - Management, financial and technical support to communitarian gardens benefiting poor urban households in the North-Eastern city:
-provision of food and profit to less wealthy families with horticulture practises in idle public land, 1/3 of which is located under electric lines;
-the gardens are tended by households through family work and produce vegetables, spices and medicinal plants with organic fertilisers;
-supply of all the necessary infrastructures, tools and the first seeds to the vegetable gardens (about 400m2 attributed to each family) is provided through national banks, NGOs and the municipality financing systems.
Federal District Brasilia - Brazil (C-W) - Support to peri-urban production processing and formal commercialisation by FD government;
- Creation of a new brand - PROVE - for better marketing of all the aimed agricultural products;
- Financial support, through credit systems, to local agro-industries related to peri-urban agriculture;
- Technical assistance, production-processing guidance from extension services and university institution.
Local S. Paulo - Brazil (SE) - Introduction of UA in urban planning as a public recognition in Brazil's industrial capital city of this land use importance.
Local Presidente Prudente - Brazil (SE) - Creation of the Feed Prudente programme, in this S. Paulo state medium-sized city:
-public idle land occupation by less wealthy households for horticulture production;
-equipment provision, together with the first plantation seeds;
-technical assistance through extension services;
-legal advice for contracts with private owners of vacant land, suitable for vegetable production.
Local Curitiba - Brazil (S) - Promotion of idle land occupation for farming purposes in the Southern state;
- Technical advice to the urban gardeners by specialized services;
- Provision & promotion of compost as a fertiliser.
Local Londrina - Brazil (S) - Support to community gardeners;
- Tolerance of international agencies technical and financial support and guidance to UA.

Sources: Bohrt (1993); Carvalho (1999); Erraes & Dubbeling (2000); Fortes Filho and Dubbeling (2000); Hernández & Dubbeling (2000); IDRC (1997); Madaleno (2000); Slinger (2000); Spiaggi et al (2000); TUAN (1999) and UNDP (1996).


Bohrt, J.P.(1993) Urban Agriculture Research in Latin America: Record, Capacities and Opportunities. In Cities Feeding People, Report 7. Ottawa: IDRC, 1-18

Carvalho, J.L.H. (1999) Programa de Verticalização da Pequena Produção Familiar - PROVE. In UMP/PGU papers. Quito: PGU, 1-51 (unpublished).

Erraes, R.H.C. and Dubbeling, M. (2000) Análisis del Programa Municipal de Agricultura Urbana en Cuenca (Ecuador). Série Agricultura Urbana y Alimentación de las Ciudades de América Latina y el Caribe. Quito: PGU, 1-17.

Fortes Filho, P.F. and Dubbeling, M. (2000) Políticas Públicas e suas Intervenções a Nível Municipal em Agricultura Urbana na Cidade de Teresina-PI, Brasil. Série Agricultura Urbana y Alimentación de las Ciudades de América Latina y el Caribe. Quito: PGU, 1-16.

Hernández, G.A. and Dubbeling, M. (2000) Análisis de las Políticas Públicas en la Agricultura Urbana - Caso Texcoco, México. Série Agricultura Urbana y Alimentación de las Ciudades de América Latina y el Caribe. Quito: PGU, 1-15.

IDRC (1997) Agriculture Urbaine pour l'Assainissement et la Création de Revenus dans l'Agglomération de Fortaleza (Brésil). Ottawa: International Development Research Centre (unpublished).

Madaleno (2000) City Food and Health in Brazil. In FAO-ETC/RUAF electronic conference. Leusden: RUAF, 1-15

Slinger, V.A.V. (2000) Peri-Urban Agroforestry in the Brazilian Amazon. In Geographical Review, 90 (2). New York: AGS, 177-190.

Spiaggi, E.P. et al. (2000) Vermiculture: Mini-livestock in Rosario, Argentina, for Organic Waste Processing. In Urban Agriculture Magazine, 1 (2). Leusden: RUAF, 36.

TUAN (1999) Agricultura Urbana e Segurança Alimentar: Instalem os Vossos Campos na Cidade. In Esporo (31), June, 1-2.

UNDP (1996) Urban Agriculture: Food, Jobs and Sustainable Cities. New York: United Nations Development Programme.

Search Our Site[new]

pointer Return to Contents' Page pointer

Revised Tuesday, October 16, 2001

Published by City Farmer
Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture