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Urban agriculture could boost food security in Arab countries

June 22, 2016

IDRC-funded researchers propose local urban agriculture as a solution to food insecurity in a recent paper published by the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies.

Food insecurity in Arab countries is closely tied to rising world food prices, because more than half of the food consumed in these countries is imported. This number is expected to grow by more than 60% in the next 20 years. The authors argue that supporting local urban agriculture can address this challenge. 

The paper compares two contrasting case studies of urban agriculture. In Egypt, high rates of urbanization and limited arable land have led to the limited success of urban agriculture. In Amman, Jordan, strong municipal support has encouraged its development.

Although it is a long standing practice, urban agriculture receives poor recognition from planners, agricultural scientists, policymakers, researchers, and even its practitioners. To ensure food security for the future, the authors conclude, municipalities can

  • restrict the rezoning of agricultural land
  • integrate urban agriculture into urban policies
  • build capacity among local stakeholders

Read the paper: Redefining a sustainable role for urban agriculture in the Middle East and North Africa

The paper features the findings of an IDRC-supported research project led by the Resource Centres on Urban Agriculture and Food Security.