Repository logo

Assessment of entrepreneurial risk and water quality in urban agriculture.

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Urban agriculture (UA) serves diverse purposes in various societies. However, there are many difficulties that urban farmers must overcome in UA, as it is a risky industry like any other sector. The limited availability of natural resources such as land and water, present production risk for the farmers as they are subjected to production on small areas of land available. The practice of agricultural production further depletes the water supplies that are accessible. Urbanization is predicted to lead to a decline in water quantity and quality because agriculture uses a big portion of the water supply and population increase. Measures, such as water resource management, drip irrigation, and wastewater re-use, are taken to manage the deterioration of water quality, as they affect how money and decisions are made. Factors such as production, pricing (market), and human, financial, and institutional risk are all risk concerns for farmers as they affect their "entrepreneurial spirit" and willingness to take on any risk. Over the years, research has addressed risk variables that influence smallholder and commercial farmers in rural regions; however, there has been little research on the risk factors that affect entrepreneurship in UA. Furthermore, the presence of risk in agriculture also presents food and nutrition insecurity as farmers tend to be risk averse. The study aimed to evaluate the risk factors on decisions making by urban farmers and the effects on income generation, while also reviewing the literature on the water policies on access, use and quality, and the farmer’s perception of the use of WW in UA and the role of UA in food and nutrition security. The study’s methodology was a mixed-method approach, employing both qualitative and quantitative data collection and data analysis methods. A multistage sampling technique was used to randomly select 78 urban households. The sample included 48 urban farmers and 30 non-urban respondents who were purposefully selected to be part of the study. The selection was complimented through a structured questionnaire survey complemented by observations and focus group discussions. For data analysis of the qualitative and quantitative results, the study made use of a thematic and content analysis of the policies; the study also employed Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and logistic regression analysis of the results. This study employed a review of literature on the policies in place that govern water access, use and quality in South Africa. The socio-demographic results from the study show that the respondents were mostly females; with the mean age of 58, and only a few of the respondents were classified as youth between the ages 18-40. The findings revealed that there are policies in place that govern water access and use, and quality. However, the findings show that there are no policies that are specific to water access, use and quality in urban agriculture. Moreover, it was found that there are guidelines relating to water quality as urban farmers have been found to use WW due to the water shortages in cities. To cover the shortfall, the farmers, use other sources of water such as rainwater, river, dam and wastewater. The results on farmer perception revealed that the majority of the farmers were not open to using WW even though they were aware of its use in agriculture. The findings further revealed that the respondents are somewhat aware of the risk factors in UA and how they impact their income generating capacity. It was found that factors such as age, education, water quality, entrepreneurial risk factors like (production risk and price risk) and psychological capital, were found to be statistically significant and have the potential to influence the risk factors of the respondents and subsequently increase urban agriculture participation ultimately leading to increased incomes. The study results also show that majority of the respondents were farming to ensure food and nutrition security at a household level due to food and economic hardships, while only a few of the participants were farming to sell at the market. Even with those who were selling at the market, they found that the costs outweighed the benefits and were somewhat not motivated. The study, therefore, concluded that farmers need more information on the safe use of WW in agriculture. There is also a need for the farmers to develop their risk awareness in UA, and how to better manage the risk. Enhanced risk management strategies will ensure continued income generation and also invoke the “entrepreneurial spirit” necessary to become a successful entrepreneur. The study further concludes that youth involvement in UA is essential as the majority of the participants were elderly, who are mostly subsistent farmers, while young farmers weren’t motivated enough to go into agriculture. Key words: urban agriculture, entrepreneurial risk, water polices, water quality, food security, principal component analysis, entrepreneurship, logit regression.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.