Financing and Investment for Urban Agriculture
Financial support can make a significant difference to poor urban families.
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A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Many of the increasing group of urban dwellers who live around the poverty line are (informal) micro-entrepreneurs, involved in a diversity of activities such as waste collection and recycling, trading, having a shop, transport and farming.
These entrepreneurs require access to working capital, but most of them face limited access to credit and investment schemes. Important lesson can be drawn from rural micro-finance programmes. The challenge now is to further build on these experiences, including (partnerships with) the private banking sector and rural innovative micro-finance institutions. This chapter reviews lessons learnt from studies in the urban setting.
In cities around the world, urban and periurban agriculture (UA) is assuming an increasingly important role in making cities more sustainable. By growing food in the city, the urban poor can reduce household food expenses and generate additional income, thereby enhancing food security and reducing poverty. UA can also help recycle urban wastes, create green space in cities, and maintain existing green spaces in both urban and periurban areas.
However, UA requires increased financial and political legitimacy if it is to continue developing as a productive force. While political support for urban agriculture has been steadily increasing, financial support for urban growers has been more limited. Most urban producers lack access to credit and investment schemes.
Information about such schemes is also scarce. Evidence about the benefits of urban agriculture is anecdotal and deals mainly with highly localised, small-scale experiences. Little is known about credit and investment interventions around the world that could benefit large numbers of producers and thereby make UA a major contributor to productive and inclusive urban economies.