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Assessing the Role of Urban Agriculture in Addressing Poverty in South Africa

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Name of the Asset | Assessing the Role of Urban Agriculture in Addressing Poverty in South Africa
Type of Asset | Working Paper
Date | October 2009

Summary

This study focuses on the potential of urban agriculture (UA) in addressing poverty in South Africa, against a backdrop of increasing food prices. Increases in the prices of food products were high in 2002, tapered off between 2003 and 2005, and again began to gain momentum from 2006 onwards. In 2007, the prices of food products increased by more than 10%.

The study used datasets from the 2007 and 2002 General Household Surveys, conducted and published annually by Statistics South Africa, to look at changes in UA practices. It also compared results with a control group formed of urban non-agriculturalists.

Researchers found a range of results, including that UA is more commonly practiced by females, black households, older heads of households, households with larger families, and households with lower levels of education. Also, households not involved in UA were better off than those who were. However, researchers were unable to tell whether UA is a means of coping, or whether it is linked to cultural practices, making it difficult to ascertain the scope of UA as an easily scalable strategy for poverty reduction.

Authors:

  • Phillippe Burger, Department of Economics, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein
  • Jan Cloete, Centre for Development Support, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein
  • J.P. Geldenhuys, Department of Economics, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein
  • Lochner Marais, Centre for Development Support, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein
  • Alexander Thornton, Department of Geography, University of New South Wales, Australia

Country and/or Region | South Africa
Name of the Program | GDN’s Global Research Project, ‘Institutional Capacity Strengthening of African Public Policy Institutes to Support Inclusive Growth and the MDGs.’
Funder(s) |  The United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Bureau for Development Policy (BDP) and Regional Bureau for Africa (RBA)

Download the Full Study here

If you cite this resource, please notify communications@gdn.int with the subject line 'GDN citation'.

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