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The main driv,ing force for farmers to become engaged in urban agriculture are food security and income generation (poverty alleviation). In fact, urban agriculture is important for public health and sustainable resource management. Yet most governments have under-rated and overlooked it. In Enugu State there is no specific policy to encourage urban agriculture despite its contributions to food and income levels of the poor urban households. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the needs of urban farm operators in Enugu urban. Specifically, the objectives of the study include: (1) to find out agricultural activities engaged in by urban farm operators; (2) determine land and labour needs of urban farm operators; (3) determine water, input supply and credit needs of urban farm operators; (4) determine the marketing needs of urban farm operators;
(5) determine the farmer education needs of urban farm operators. Five research questions and two null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. A survey research design was adopted for the study. A structured questionnaire consisting of 108 items was administered to 220 respondents purposively sampled from a population of 330 urban farm operators using accidental techniques. Data collected were analyzed using percentage, mean and standard deviation for the research questions while t-test statistic was used to test the hypotheses. The study found out that: (1) Urban farm operators eng,aged in urban horticulture, urban livestock and urban forestry.
(2) Land spaces available for urban agricultural activities were backyard,
borrowed and rented land. Other spaces are plastic bags, cans and baskets. Hired and family labour were the only labour available. (3) Rainwater, river1 stream and well were the only sources of water. Inputs like improved seeds, seedlings, chemicals and micro-credits were needed for agricultural practices. (4) Marketing needs like processing, packaging and preservation were required by urban farm operators. (5) Extension service needs like extension agents organizing workshops and seminars,
establishing clubs and co-operatives etc were the needs of urban farm operators. (6) Some training needs like how to gain access to land, choice of crops to grow, use of organic waste 2nd wastewater, use of limited water supply, protection of crops, dealing with animal, waste, knowledge of packing, market and outlets, etc. were the needs of urban farm operators. Based on the findings, the following
recommendations were made: (1) Government should recognize urban farm operators as integral group of the farming ~perators~by
institutionalizing urban agriculture programmes. (2) The Ministries of Lands, Agriculture and ADPs should include urban agriculture in their policies and programmes. (3) Federal and State governments should train and mobilize more extension workers to render the service and training needs of the urban farm operators.
Background of the Study
Throughout the globe, urban agriculture is increasingly a part of city landscape. Like many urban trends, urban agriculture crosses borders North and South and is evident in both rich and poor countries. It is found in small towns, major cities, industrial, financial and governmental urban centres. It is found in temperate and in tropical latitudes and at sea level and high in the mountains. The United Nations Development programme
. (UNDP) estimates that as many as 800 million urban residents are involved in commercial and subsistence agriculture in or around the cities (UNDP, 1996).
Enugu is the capital, the largest commercial centre and the seat of political and administrative power of Enugu State. In Enugu city, farming activities are everywhere, not only in the outskirt but also in the heart of the city. In all kinds of open public spaces crops are cultivated and animals like goats, sheep roam around. In fact, there is even more farming, notably in backyard and in the residential areas. People of all socio-economic classes grow food crops whenever and wherever possible.
Urban agriculture is therefore an industry located within (intra urban) or in the fringe (peri-urban) of a town, a city or a metropolis. It grows or raises, processes and distributes a diversity of food and non-food products (re)-using largely human and material resources, products and services from
within and around that urban area. And in turn supplying human and material reso,urces, products and services largely to that urban area (Mougeot, 1999).
Clearly urban areas in developing and developed countries are often very different. The usual mechanism, common in national censuses is to take population thresholds. Once a nucleated settlement grows beyond a certain threshold, it becomes "urban". However, the threshold used varies widely from country to country and may even change in successive censuses (Hardoy and Satterthwaite, 1986). However, the United ~ d i o n s
(1991) has attempted to standardize data by defining settlement of over 20,000 people as "urban", over 100,000 people as cities and over 5 million as big cities.
The main driving force for farmers to become engaged in urban agriculture are food security and income generation. According to the urban Agriculture Network (TUAN) of the roughly 800 million people currently involved in urban agriculture worldwide, 200 million produce for the market and 150 million are full time employees. Between 1993 and 2005, urban agriculture could increase its share of world food production from 15% to 33%, its share of vegetables, meat, fish and dairy products consumed in cities from 33% to 50% and the number of urban farmers producing for the market from 200 million to 400 millions (Mougeot, Farugui, Smith, Wilson and Hovorka, 1998).
Apart from food security and poverty alleviation, urban agriculture is important for public health and sustainable resource management. The
direct impacts are improved health conditions among urban farmers through a richer vitamin and protein diets. Furthermore, more appropriate waste management practices lead to decrease in health risks. Sustainable resource management implies a more efficient use of resources, including a reduction and reuse of waste flows whenever possible. Closing the nutrient loop in the urban environment by reusing the so-called waste as fertilizers in urban agriculture is an option to the prevalent open-loop and linear urban system (Smit, 1996 in Baumgartner and Beelvi, 2001).
The urban farm operators (urban farmers) do not form a homogeneous group. They can be found in almost every socio-economic group of the city. Mougeot (1993) identifies three farmer categories, divided according to the reasons for practising urban agriculture:
Low-income survival farmers.
Middle-income home gardeners - These practise urban agriculture mainly to provide supplemental food and/or income. In this second category are the upper-class people who have their gardens maintained by their servants and watchmen.
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