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Urban agriculture

The problem

In Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa, the cost of living is soaring and many of the poorest households struggle to afford food, rent, healthcare and school fees.

One way to improve nutrition and income in cities is through urban agriculture, which encompasses horticulture, animal husbandry and aquaculture in urban and peri-urban settings.

Described as ‘another way of feeding cities’ by the Veolia Institute, urban agriculture is gaining global attention, with both national and international experiences showing its promising potential to improve urban food security.

With a population of more than four million, 22% of which are poor and 23.5% unemployed, advancing urban agriculture in Addis Ababa offers a huge potential to fight poverty and reduce unemployment in Ethiopia’s economic and political hub.

Aside from building healthy diets and job opportunities, the capital would also hugely benefit from contributing to urban greening. With its open spaces, growing demand for fresh agricultural products, emerging urban food security initiatives and availability of labour force, urban agriculture gives Addis Ababa the chance to become a greener and healthier city.

What are we doing?

Farm Africa is working with the Ministry of Planning and Development (MoPD), as part of the Sida-funded Growth for the Future (G4F) programme, to improve the household incomes, food and nutrition security of city residents, the MoPD’s low paid staff and low-income young people through urban agriculture, with a focus on horticulture.

The project is improving the food, nutrition and income of poor urban households by:

  • Providing training in urban agriculture, specifically horticulture production, through practical demonstration and continuous mentoring support. Training activities and materials include organic fertiliser preparation and application, seedling production, planting crop seeds, weed control, harvesting, post-harvest handling and nutrition education.
  • Supporting households’ access to agri-inputs such as improved seeds, compost, farm tools and infrastructure to run urban horticulture businesses.
  • Enabling households to grow and consume nutrient-dense and marketable food crops.
  • Facilitating market links among input suppliers, producers of agricultural products, buyers and retailers.

This project aligns with government initiatives like the green legacy as it promotes urban beautification and environmental conservation throughout the city by:

  • Supporting urban youth business groups, in collaboration with Addis Ababa Youth and Sport Bureau and the MoPD, to run businesses focusing on organic fertiliser and seedling production. These business groups are provided with practical training, input support and technical mentoring services including access to markets like crop producers and seedling buyers to establish continuous marketing partnerships.
  • Facilitating youth groups to plant their seedlings in greening sites, which will help to meet the dual government objectives of generating income for urban youth groups and city greening.

We are also strengthening knowledge of urban agriculture by:

  • Facilitating knowledge exchange among urban agricultural stakeholders with workshops and a multi-sectoral stakeholders’ platform to promote learning and coordination.
  • Documenting and sharing learning products.

This project has been designed to offer a wide replication of lessons and good practices to create sustainable impact across the city. Implemented and sustained via a two-phased approach, the project’s first phase focuses on piloting urban agriculture in the MoPD compound, while the second will be full-scale implementation across other parts of Addis Ababa, developing further components of urban agriculture such as poultry, ruminant keeping and beekeeping.

Who are we working with?

This project is funded by Sida and is part of the Growth for the Future Programme.