Agriculture is often associated with rural environments. While a lot of the food we eat in fact comes from rural areas, (in Nigeria, 70% of rural people are subsistence smallholder farmers and they produce 90% of Nigeria’s food), agriculture can also be practiced in urban areas.
Urban agriculture, also known as urban farming or urban gardening, is the practice of cultivating and distributing food in urban areas. Some of the food products that can be grown in urban agriculture are grains, root crops, rhizomes, mushrooms, and vegetables as well as ornamental plants and medicinal herbs.
Urban gardening can also involve the rearing of livestock such as poultry, rabbits, goats, fish and others.
Types of Urban Agricultural Practices
Backyard Gardens: Many people have small gardens or farms in their backyards where they grow food mostly for personal consumption. They plant crops such as tomatoes, maize, pepper, and vegetables. Some of the reasons why people venture into backyard farming is because it saves cost, guarantees organically grown produce, and is also a form of exercise.
Rooftop Gardens: As the name implies, a rooftop garden is a garden on the roof of a building. Though it is mostly used for aesthetic purposes, it can also provide food. However, not just any plant can be grown on the roof due to structural reasons. Plants such as aromatic herbs for example is suitable for rooftop gardens and are usually grown in pots.
Urban Beekeeping: Bees have a symbiotic relationship with flowering plants which makes them an important part of the food chain and earth’s ecosystem as a whole. They serve as natural pollinators for plants and trees.
Worker bees collect nectar from flowers and while doing so, the pollen on their body rubs off on the flowers. This pollen transfer makes it possible to fertilize ovaries and enable reproduction. The plants are then able to produce fruits and seeds.
Urban farmers can keep bee colonies in urban areas to encourage biodiversity. They also provide environmental and economic benefits.
Engaging in these urban agricultural practices can lead to positive outcomes such as:
Increasing Food Security: Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food, which meets their dietary needs and preferences for an active and healthy life. Urban agriculture increases food security by providing healthy substitutes for purchased foods. Households who purchase urban agriculture have more access to a variety of nutritious foods and vegetables.agriculture helps to correct this by reducing the price of healthy food through middle man elimination and increasing the opportunity for community members to participate in the growing of food.
Making Food Traceable: One of the major problems of the food supply chain is the lack of food traceability. Urban agriculture however seeks to provide a solution to this. When farmers produce and distribute food within the same area, they make it easier for consumers to trace where the food came from as opposed to when it has to be transported from different areas. This makes it easier to determine the authenticity of the food.
Increasing Economic Growth: Urban agriculture encourages the use of land to feed people. Spaces such as rooftop gardens and vertical gardens take up minimal space but produces a lot of fresh and healthy food. Urban agriculture cuts down on fossil fuel production which farmers would have needed to transport, package, and sell food.Urban farms also aid the flow of income within the region. This makes it easier for farmers to connect with markets where they can supply directly and maximize profit.
Creating Job Opportunities: Urban agriculture helps to create job opportunities in urban environments by employing the services of dispatchers, sales representatives, cleaners, gardeners, and many others. This strengthens our economy.
Learning: While creating their own foods, urban dwellers can learn different processes in farming such as gardening techniques and others. It also helps people learn more about sustainable agriculture.
Do you have any other reasons why everyone should be urban gardeners? Let us know below
These Agricultural Businesses Do Not Involve Farming
Agriculture is one of those vocations that has received a lot of buzz lately. Not only are Millennials increasingly becoming aware of the fact that a career in agriculture can be rewarding both socially and otherwise, but there are also a lot of resources that are becoming available to people about agriculture and its diverse branches. Here are five careers in agriculture that you can get involved in. It is important to know that these don’t require getting your hands dirty with any farming at all. Depending on you live in, some of these careers may be more lucrative than others, but here are some ideas:
With so many platforms such as Quora, WordPress, Medium, and varying social media platforms, writing has become a necessary skill, especially in the information age. Although it takes a long time to make money from a blog, an agricultural company that genuinely wants to get its message across to the world needs a good copywriter, someone who can document the beauty of agriculture in all of its glory. If you already work for an ag-based business, consider asking for more earning power by honing your writing skills even if you haven’t learned the art. If you can prove yourself as a talented writer in the agriculture industry, there are numerous opportunities out there to make money.
Landscaping does take a lot of time and hard work. Although it is not the most idyllic form of agriculture, it is possible to make a lucrative living from mowing lawns, for example. Although not many people enjoy the art of mowing lawns, if you get proficient at it and have the right equipment, it is possible to minimize expenses and grow from there. If you’re looking for a place to specialize, there might be potential there. This is another one where you can start very small, and with some hard work and with creative marketing, you can scale into a real business!
Pest Control Specialist.
Farmers find that among the most nagging issues that they face is the infestation of pests on heir farmland. Many large-scale farmers are more than happy to pay pest control specialists to assist them with taking care of the pests that may plague their farms. Perhaps you have a specific pest problem in your area that you can help solve for local landowners. It may be very well worth the effort.
There is a vast demand for workers with knowledge specific to Urban Agriculture. Many farmers offer tours as a way to supplement their income; however, few of them provide education on how to grow. Everyone is looking for something to do on evenings and weekends. If you can put together an exciting presentation to show people how they can grow at home — they will buy equipment, nutrients, and replacement parts from you. You could also take it one extra step further and sell rooted plants and seeds as well.
Consulting and designing systems for restaurants and commercial businesses. Firms that agric-focused have been a lucrative form of income for a few years. Most of these businesses usually involve selling a shipping container that is pre-configured to grow. It is a complicated feat, but not an impossible one to start. A more challenging route, on the other hand, would be to design and install systems for residential use.
Agriculture shouldn’t be restricted to the soil only. There are many ways to get involved with Agriculture either as a side gig or a full-time hobby. In fact, many people retire to agriculture-based careers these days. Are you thinking of breaking into the agricultural sector? Which track would you follow? Leave your comments in the comment section below!
By: Sughnen Yongo/farmcrowdy
Farmcrowdy Now In Niger State with 1000 Farmers
Farmcrowdy began with a goal to empower rural farmers across Africa and we are doing so one Nigerian state at a time. We have currently empowered rural farmers in 15 states, with Niger state being the latest addition in our operations. Here are some noteworthy facts about Niger state:
- Niger state is the largest state in Nigeria, bigger than ten states combined. Mashegu LGA in Niger state is bigger than Lagos and Anambra state combined.
- It is located in the middle belt region of the country with a population of over 4 million.
- Niger state consists of two major ethnic groups; the Gbagyi and Nupe.
- Niger state is Known as the Power State because it houses two of Nigeria’s hydroelectric dam, Kainji Dam (the largest electricity generating dam) and Shiroro dam.
- One of the longest rivers in Africa, River Niger, is located in this state.
Another interesting fact to note about Niger state is that the major occupation of the people is farming and fishing.
We are going to empower 1000 rural farmers of Niger state through our rice farm project. This farm, will however be different from other farms as we will be adopting the dry season farming approach for this particular project.
One of the best ways to improve food security in a nation is to ensure the availability of food all year round. However, factors such as limited rainfall lead to poor crop yield and food shortage. Therefore, one of the best ways to meet food demand with supply in spite of the unpredictability of rain, is by changing strategy and adopting this new approach.
This simply means that our rice farms will not be dependent on rain as a source of water. Therefore, in instances when it doesn’t rain or it doesn’t rain enough, the rice farms will still be catered for. Dry season farming is not limited to dry season alone. It can also be adapted in cases where a farmer doesn’t want to be dependent on rain for irrigation.
We are determined to increase food production and security in Nigeria and expanding to a new state with dry season farming brings us a step closer. It ensures food availability and better pricing all year long. The dry season farming method will enable our farmers plant rice all year long, thus increasing rice production and reducing rice importation.
The farmers we are working with in Niger state will also be provided adequate funding and training to get the highest yield by harvest time.
Click here to start sponsoring our rice farms. When you sponsor a farm, you will receive updates during the farm cycle and returns after harvest on your sponsorship. You will also be empowering rural farmers to receive adequate input, support, and training needed to cultivate crops and make money to support themselves.
You will ultimately be contributing to the agricultural landscape in Nigeria.
Malawi: The African Development Bank approves $13.2 million for sustainable fisheries, aquaculture development and watershed management
The African Development Bank Group has approved a $13.2 million financing package from the African Development Fund for a fisheries and aquaculture development project in Malawi. The Sustainable Fisheries, Aquaculture Development, and Watershed Management project will provide infrastructure for increased fisheries productivity and market access. Board approval for the project was granted on 2 October 2019. The project is expected to contribute to nutritious diets, boost employment along the fish value chain, and build climate resilience along major watersheds.
The project’s estimated cost is $14.57 million, comprising an ADF loan of $8.98 million, a grant of $4.21 million. The Malawi government will contribute $1.38 million.
The project is expected to directly benefit 20,000 residents around the surrounding lakeshore and inland areas, as well as 250,000 fish processors, vendors, retailers, and interns, many of whom are youth and women along the value chain.
The project interventions will cover 11 lakeshore and three non-lakeshore districts, including the entire basins of Lake Malawi and Chilwa, part of the Shire River system, and selected upland areas using an ecosystem approach. Seventy-five percent of transboundary watersheds are in Malawi and they are critical fish breeding and nursery grounds.
Other expected benefits include sustained income from fisheries; increased recovery of Chambo stocks and higher incomes from value addition (processing, storage and related marketing activities). The increased access to fish protein consumption at the household level will improve nutrition in the region.
“The Bank is committed to supporting our regional member countries to make use of their living fisheries resources. This is crucial for building healthy diets and local consumption, facilitating regional trade and improving on the quality of life – especially for youth and women along the fish value chain,” said the Bank’s Blue Economy Flagship Coordinator, Dr. Ahmed Khan.
The approved resources will promote Malawi’s national development as outlined in its Malawi National Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy, its Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS III) and Malawi’s Vision 2020.
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