Impact of urban agriculture on livelihood in Wakiso district
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According to the Uganda National household survey (2016), agriculture remains the major source of livelihood employing a working population of 65% in agriculture, fishery and forestry (MAAIF). However, majority of the farmers in the agricultural sector are still involved in subsistence production, keeping their incomes low due to fewer opportunities associated with subsistence agriculture. The poverty level was reported to have increased from 19.7% in the financial year 2012/2013 to 21.4% in 2016/2017 (UBOS, 2018) with unemployment at 58% as of the 2014 National census report (UBOS, 2014). In order to address the above problems, the Government of Uganda together with external funders has introduced several initiatives over time aimed at improving the livelihoods of Ugandans. Some of which include the Plan for Modernization of Agriculture (PMA) in 2001, the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) in 2001, the Youth Livelihood Program (YLP) in 2013 and the Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) in 2014. All these aim at commercialization of the agricultural sector and improving livelihoods in Uganda hence their contribution cannot be outweighed. However, there has been less emphasis on capacity building of small holder Agricultural enterprises and urban farmers situated in the urban and peri-urban areas of Uganda. This study therefore, sought to assess the potential role of urban agriculture as a component of improving the general livelihood of this section of people living in urban and peri-urban areas of Wakiso district. The study area was Wakiso district in particularly areas of Kira, Gayaza, Wakiso, Makindye Ssabagabo and Entebbe. Cross-sectional data was used to assess the impact of urban agriculture on livelihood. The objectives were to characterize households engaged and those not engaged in urban agriculture, analyze the effect of urban agriculture on income generation and to determine the factors that constrain households from generating income from urban agriculture. A structured questionnaire and interviews was used to collect data from the two groups of households. Purposive sampling was used in order to collect data from the 68 respondents who were targeted for this study. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and net income analysis. Additionally, Microsoft Excel was used to generate frequency tables while the SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Sciences) was used to run a regression for easy data interpretation. The findings of this study show that urban agriculture is a crucial activity in effecting household incomes as all farmers had positive net incomes and were better off than those not engaged in xi urban agriculture. Even though, urban agriculture had a higher annual net income as compared to the annual net income of those not involved in urban agriculture, participants were affected by various constraints. The major constraints were pests and diseases, inappropriate transport facilities, limited market and unfavorable prices. The Net income analysis revealed that the overall average annual net income per household was higher for those engaged at 25851723.5 shillings which was 27.5 % higher than that of non-participants (14688529.4 shillings). Results from the simple regression analysis revealed that there a significant relationship (p=0.012) between urban agriculture and household income (R²=0.73), with a 0.73 unit increase in household income for every unit increase in income from urban agriculture. It can be concluded that urban agriculture has a significant effect on household income and improves livelihoods of households in Wakiso District. Since respondents engaged in urban agriculture indicated a high annual net household income contribution from urban agriculture, the current upsurge in gender imbalance and youth unemployment in major urban and peri- urban areas of Uganda can be addressed by creating an enabling environment for many of them to engage in urban agriculture and encouraging them to develop interest in Agriculture as it stands as the backbone of Uganda. Additionally, those engaged in non-farming activities but living in urban and peri-urban areas should also be given an idea of engaging in urban agriculture so as to expand their sources of income since the cost of living in urban areas is usually so high. More so, this removes the perception that agriculture only takes place in rural areas and the attitude that it is for the poor.