Assessment of the economic viability of urban agriculture in Komamboga parish, Kawempe Division, Kampala District
Ssekidde, George William
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Urban agriculture, a key intervention strategy in fighting global food insecurity, poverty alleviation and environmental sustainability has continued to face global enormous challenges. These range from unfavorable policies aimed at phasing out urban agriculture to decreasing yields due to poor soil. This study was intended to establish who the urban farmers in Komamboga Parish are, their location and the agricultural enterprises they are involved in. Through this, the economic viability of urban agriculture could be established and suggestions obtained to further improve it. The methods used included quantitative research and descriptive research methods. Data collection tools included structured interviews, and key informant interviews (KIIs). Data analysis involved using descriptive statistics of Microsoft Office Excel computer application in form of tables, graphs and pie charts, benefit costs analysis as well as Net Present Value Analysis. According to NPV analysis (NPV=PV-I) the value obtained was greater than zero. And the benefit-cost analysis showed that all enterprises were recommendable due to their positive results. This indicated that Urban Agriculture in Komamboga Parish was economically viable. This therefore meant that those involved in it could reliably generate income for their financial wellbeing. The conclusions made were as follows; it was found out that Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture in Komamboga Parish was majorly practiced by farmers aged 31-50 years, a few youths aged 2530 do practiced it. Those involved in UPA had moderate education due to the fact that agriculture in Komamboga was not yet fully commercialized and some was still practiced at subsistence level therefore it does not require sophisticated skills. Most of the farmers were found to be females some of whom are heads of the family striving to earn daily food for their children. The location of these farmers was found out to be more at the periphery of the Parish where urbanization was still limited and their numbers were small as one moved closer to urban town. It was still found out that poultry keeping in the area was still high at 36%, cattle (25%), piggery (18%), goats (14%), rabbits (7%). In crops maize was highly grown at 38%, vegetables (Nakati, tomatoes, cabbages, spinach, sukuma wich) 31%, yams at 19% and beans at 12%. xi The costs incurred in crop production are generally lower compared to those for livestock production. Whereas the returnable benefits from livestock are much more compared to those of crops. However, irrespective of the costs incurred for Urban Agriculture production, the possible returns are relatively proportional to the costs incurred in a production season. The opportunities discovered were more prominent in job creation hence creating employment for farmers, income generation, food for household livelihoods and availability of market for the exchange of goods and services. However the prominent challenges were about climatic changes leading to dry spells and floods. These later result into crop and livestock diseases. Pollution was at steady increase resulting into contamination of water, soil, air and feeds. It was also found out that financial credit for Urban Agriculture was still at low stage hence farmers were still finding it difficult to get external financial support. The research therefore resulted into the following recommendations that, due to the increasing urban youth unemployment, central government and local governments should revise means of integrating the youth into Urban Agriculture involvement, by providing support to them such as encouraging agricultural projects and supporting them, agricultural credit for the youth, market creation and guidance for agricultural entrepreneurs. Emphasis should as well be put on agricultural finance in form on either credit or incentives to ensure availability, affordability and access to agricultural finance support to all farmers to ensure their sustainable production. Government should introduce initiatives to control floods in the area through construction of proper drainage channels, ensure proper housing plan and as well as initiatives for providing irrigation water to urban farmer for example provision tanks for irrigation water storage.