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This is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts in the fight against hunger. It serves both developing and the already developed countries. FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and debate policy. It is also a source of advice and knowledge to member countries as it helps in the provision of information, and helps developing nations to modernize and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices, by ensuring good nutrition and food security for all (Amin,2002).
In urban agriculture, FAO plays a general role of educating the urban farmers on the best methods of farming such as proper animal husbandry. It also offers them variety of species of crops to cultivate on in the urban areas. It protects the farmers from interventions by the specific governments, and they ensure food security for the already produced crops. Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC) This is a North American coalition of people from different nationalities and organizations working from the local to international levels to build community food security.
Membership in CFSC is diverse with almost three hundred organizations from social and economic justice, anti-hunger, environmental, community development, sustainable agriculture, community gardening and other fields. The main objective of CFSC is to build a strong, sustainable, local and regional food system that ensure access to affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food to all people at all times.
CFSC has facilitated the development of urban agriculture through developing self reliance among all cities in obtaining their food and to creating a system of growing, manufacturing, processing, making available, and selling food that is regionally based and grounded in the principles of justice, democracy and sustainability.
Urban and Peri-urban Agriculture (APA) This organization involves the growing of plants and the rearing of animals within urban and peri-urban areas.
It influences urban agriculture in a number of ways. UPA increases the availability of locally grown vegetables and fruits. This is done through making land available to increase production. UPA also recognizes the added value of combining vacant spaces with growing food in or near cities. It helps to restore consumer confidence in locally produced food. It helps promote food production to help reduce poverty and inequalities in urban centers.
UPA has helped growers in urban agriculture to get closer links to their consumers and made it possible for retailers to improve access to affordable fresh vegetables and fruits sourced from the urban farming. UPA has improved logistics which has in turn increased access for instance transport services and home deliveries for those unable to get to the shops to buy food products. Resource centers on urban Agriculture and Food Security (RUAF Foundation) This is an international network of seven regional resource centers and one global resource centre on Urban Agriculture and food security.
It was formed as a result to the expressed need of organization and local governments for effective mechanisms for the documentation and exchange of research of research data and practical experiences in urban agriculture. The major objective of RUAF is to help in eradication of poverty, generation of employments, food security and to help in stimulate participatory city governance and improved urban environment al management. This is achieved through creation of conditions for empowerment of male and female urban and peri-urban farmers. 3.
Importance of urban agriculture Agriculture has been the primary occupation even in societies that are advanced. any form of improvement and innovation in agricultural methods has significant importance to the ever increasing populations (White, Jr. , 1974). Urban agriculture has come with improvements which have seen the societies benefiting economically, socially and environmentally. Economic importance Urban and peri-urban agriculture expands the economic base of the city through production, processing, packaging and marketing of consumable products.
This results in an increase in entrepreneurial activities and the creation of job opportunities. This has led to increase in supply of food products in the cities, leading to decrease in prices of commodities. The quality of food products also improves, and the country can export more food products abroad and earning the country foreign exchange. Urban agriculture gives women an important opportunity to be part of the informal economy of a city (Paul, 1984). Farming and selling activities can be combined more easily with household tasks and child care.
As women take care of the home, men are out there trying to make ends meet in urban agriculture. Through this, women participate in the economic development of the country as they help their spouses in other chores (Feder, 1970). In another perspective, women provide labor to farming activities, thus contributing to economic development. Urban agriculture provides employment, income and access to food for urban populations, which together contributes to relieve from chronic and emergence food security.
With employment, every individual earns income and the cases of poverty in the city will considerably reduce with the practice of urban agriculture. Social Importance Better health and nutrition is one social importance of urban agriculture. With production of food products, there is enough supply of food in the city. Children cannot suffer from malnutrition because they have enough food and thus have a balanced diet. Having a balanced diet helps reduce diseases thus better health and nutrition.
Increased income and employment are other social benefits of urban agriculture. Urban agriculture has been seen as means of improving the livelihood of people living in and around cities (Pereira, 1999). Taking part in such practices is seen mostly as informal activity, but in many cities where inadequate, unreliable, and irregular access to food is an occurring problem, urban agriculture has been a positive response to tackling food concerns. Households and small communities take advantage of vacant land and contribute not only to their resident city (Pereira, 1999).
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