Urban Agriculture Notes

City Farmer: Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture

(with special reference to Africa)


3.3 Local Authorities' Changing Attitudes Toward City Farming

3.3.2 Latin America

by Luc J.A. Mougeot
© Copyright 1994
International Development Research Centre

A 1994 IDRC survey of institutional capacities and ongoing UA activities revealed growing official support in the region. Fifty-five senior officials of 41 institutions (U.N. and regional agencies, public and private research centres, national government departments and local development NGOs and consulting firms) were interviewed in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina (Prudencio, 1994).

In Costa Rica, the Food and Nutrition Division of the Ministry of Education supports 1,500 gardens countrywide, which supply food to school cafeterias feeding half a million students; it is looking for ways to produce under growing space constraints. Nutrition Department officials believe urban food production must be encouraged above food donations given to child care centres. In Argentina, the Instituto Nacional de Tecnologia Agropecuaria, with Ministry of Health funding until at least 1997, cooperates with over 800 institutions to support nearly 56 000 gardens in 1,300 localities (61% urban and semi-urban); these reportedly benefit directly 430,000 people.

In Lima, a central hospital lends training and crop-testing facilities to Peru Mujer, a women's NGO supporting some 252 produce gardens (household, communal and school-based) in three low-income districts of Lima. The municipality of the San Juan de Miraflores district, in agreement with the Pan- American Centre of Sanitary Engineering and Environmental Sciences, operates a waste-water treatment plant coupled to fish tanks yielding 4 tons/year of algae-fed Nile tilapia, which are in great demand on Lima markets; the plant also irrigates 60 ha of field crops and 290 ha of forest land (Prudencio, 1994). In Brazil, more backyards, vacant plots, road and streamsides are being converted to food production in low-income districts, as observed by Yves Cabannes (personal communication, August 1994) in Fortaleza, Agns Serre (personal communication, September 1994) in Belem, and Martin Coy (1994: 10) in Cuiaba. The Municipality of Cuiaba, which owns 143 green areas, is elaborating a municipal environmental plan to be coupled to the city's master plan.

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revised, June 12,1995

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