Today, 3 billion people live in urban areas, which is about 55% of the world’s population. According to a United Nations report in 2018, that percentage will reach 68% by 2050. With the current urbanization, this poses a challenge to food security, as this puts pressure on existing food supply chains. In addition to the challenge of providing high-quality, and nutrient crops. Therefore, this challenge raises the question of how to provide high quality food that meets the local need? And How can Urban Farming be a part of the solution.
The Concept of Food Security
According to the FAO definition, food security means that all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary preferences and nutritional needs for an active and healthy life.
Urbanization affects all aspects of food production and consumption. Specific aspects of food security that apply to the urban context include (1) the necessity to purchase most of the food a household needs; (2) Increasing reliance on the market system and commercially processed foods. Thus, wage employment and cash income are the prerequisites for achieving food security. However, the majority of the urban population, especially in developing countries, is severely deprived with limited purchasing power, with most of them working in low paying jobs in the informal sector.
Urbanization and the Challenge of Food Security
Urban expansion, of course, is an inevitable result of social and economic growth, but at the expense of this urban expansion many problems are generated that appear very clearly in developing countries for these reasons: the rapid population growth, the limited jobs available, and the Economic depression
Has Urban Farming Really Contributed to Solve the Problem?
The impact of Urban Farming is often underestimated. According to Nelson, in 1996 200 million households contributed to agricultural production. From other estimates, in 1993 urban agriculture contributed about 15-20% of the total agricultural production in the world. In Africa and Latin America, currently 40% of the urban area contributes to the total agricultural production. We in Schaduf have contributed in Egypt to providing 1,500 families with rooftop cultivation equipment, and in the Helwan project alone, we helped 500 families, and provided 200 jobs in 2017.
Urban agriculture, to a large extent, contributes to the food security of many megacities, as an important component of the urban diet and as a means for vulnerable groups to reduce their food insecurity problems. The city’s case studies indicate a significant degree of self-sufficiency in the production of fresh vegetables and poultry as well as other animal by-products.
Be the next beneficiary
We, in Schaduf, are very keen that our products serve the local community and achieve its requirements, and as we mentioned, a city like Cairo suffers from water poverty, and with the decline of rural spaces in exchange for the expansion of urban spaces, it has become necessary to take advantage of the rooftops. If you’re a Cairo resident, you can benefit from our next initiative that fully funded in which we will support 10 selected Egyptian families. You can learn more about the program details from here