Urban agriculture in Kwamsane, KwaZulu-Natal community and home gardens as an option for food security and poverty reduction.
Mthethwa, Menziwokuhle Ndumiso.
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Urban agriculture is gaining more attention because of the current global trends such as urbanization and global economic and food crisis. The numbers of people who practice urban agriculture are estimated to 800 million. Based on this scale and other claims made about urban agriculture, it is argued that urban agriculture must be integrated to urban policy and planning. The premise of this dissertation was to understand motivations and determinants of urban agriculture, and how these can inform policy. The intention of the dissertation was to understand which urban residents in KwaMsane Township of uMkhanyakude district at KwaZulu-Natal province cultivated gardens and why. This was critical considering that generally urban areas are better than rural areas in terms of employment opportunities, infrastructure, and provision of basic services. In pursuit of this objective, the dissertation assessed KwaMsane Township households cultivating gardens in terms of assets, resources, and livelihood strategies with an aim of identifying motivations and determinant factors. The central idea of the dissertation from the onset was to validate the claim that since there is diversity in terms of household composition among those cultivating gardens there are different reasons for engaging with the activity. Using qualitative with borrowed participatory action tools, and quantitative (STATA 11) methods guided by the sustainable livelihood approach, the findings showed that only 9.7% of KwaMsane Township residents cultivated gardens. Of the households 92% were cultivating gardens and consuming their produce because of food demand due to large household size and children, their awareness about nutritional content of fresh vegetables from the soil, their agricultural background of cultivating gardens for subsistence purposes, high food prices from the market, and their lack of necessary skills to create and sell in the local market. The binary logistic regression showed that the determinants for households to cultivate gardens at KwaMsane Township were the presence of children, agricultural assets, governmental grants, and pensioners in a household. The two common factors between the above mentioned determinants were income and time availability which incentivized the practice. The dissertation also showed that the majority of gardeners from KwaMsane Township were in their productive ages (in this case between 29 and 61 years of age), females were more predominant in the activity with few males, and most of the gardeners were educated, and employed. However, gender, education, and employment had little relationship with cultivation of gardens. On average gardeners were older than non-gardeners. It was also shown that gardeners consisted of different income groups but mostly middle income group. The dissertation indicated that the use of urban agriculture by KwaMsane Township gardeners was informed by their motivations which contributed to food security, food sovereignty, and poverty alleviation.
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