Urban Agriculture Essay
Urban agriculture refers to the practice of cultivating food crops, processing it in industries and distributing it to different markets around the city. Urban agriculture also involves animal rearing, aquaculture, agro forestry and horticulture. Generally, urban agriculture is simply the growing of plants and rearing of animals within and around cities. This type of agriculture has taken peaks in major cities of the world. This is because of its good benefits that it brings to those who practice it.
However, there are difficulties associated with urban agriculture, which tend to reduce its effectiveness although the barriers to urban agriculture have been dealt with at length and it is widely encouraged in almost all cities of the world. 1. The background and development of urban agriculture and some statistic facts Urban agriculture can be traced to have begun just the same time the cities started growing. There were a number of circumstances that led to the development of urban agriculture and among them is presence of labor from the large population in the cities.
Also the availability of resources greatly influenced the beginning of urban agriculture. A resource here refers to water, land, and even the modern farming methods. It is important to note that many agricultural experts were available to offer good advice to farmers in the urban areas. For instance, the experts advised on the use of community wastes as manure in urban farming (Ross, 1978). In other parts of the world, water was conserved and re-used as part of the stepped architecture of the cities and vegetable beds designed to gather sun in order to prolong the growing season.
Some other reasons that contributed to the development of urban agriculture included the following. Global food crisis This is one of the factors that facilitated the growth and development of urban agriculture. It is clear that by the end of 20th century, there was a global food crisis. Most countries lacked food because of the subsequent climatic changes. Food crops were destroyed in the rural areas, and those that were produced were too little to serve the entire world population. This led to a global food crisis that claimed deaths of many individuals.
No one wanted history to repeat itself; scientists provided suggestions that even in the urban centers, agriculture could be done there and it was necessary. This contributed to the development of urban agriculture that was meant to solve the issue of global food crisis and for the chance of the same happening. The fact is that global food crisis threatened to create a tragedy by forcing up to 100 million people into extreme poverty (Martine. , Guzman. , & Schensul, 2008). Food crisis resulted into many people facing starvation because of the skyrocketing of food prices.
It is suggested that were it not for urban agriculture, the situation for global food crisis was expected to be very severe by 2050 (Martine. , Guzman. , & Schensul, 2008). Food pricing is rising In the recent past, there was a steep increase in prices of major food crops like the cereals. This was triggered by a combination of poor production and a high remarkable demand for food. It is evident that in any given market, lack of supply of a common good will lead to increased demand of that good. With increased demand and poor supply, the price of the good will hike considerably.
On the same aspect, a low and declining level of stocks makes prices to increase, the same way a significant increase in investments in agricultural derivative markets (Neondo, 2003). In developed countries, acute price increases adds to inflationary pressures in developed countries. Consumers who are poor in developing countries will definitely spend a higher share of their income in buying of food, and the same applies to those countries that import food products. Due to these reasons, no one would wish to tolerate constant price hikes in the markets.
Therefore many have resolved to urban agriculture so as to provide food for themselves and save the much they spend on buying food products (Martine & Schensul, 2008). With urban agriculture, many substantial farmers will save a lot by not spending too much on buying food. Arable land is shrinking Arable land is that land that is set aside for farming purposes. It is clear that from the look of things, the arable land in various parts of the world is highly diminishing. This is due to the development of factories and different investments in most parts of the cities.
In china for instance, the arable land is decreasing each and every day due to the many companies and factories being constructed (Sridharan, 2007). This has raised alarm to the governments on where the farming will take place without land. Land is the main resource for production of food crops and without land; food crop production will not be feasible. Diminishing arable land that is meant for farming may cause other implications including the food crisis that no one in the country is ready for (Langevin & Rosset, 1997).
The remedy for this is urban agriculture. With urban agriculture, food crops can be produced using green houses and related technologies to produce food products. It is also the obligation of the government to rehabilitate wasted land in urban centers to make it usable for urban agriculture (Bruno, 1992). This would help in maintaining the food production in a given country. Low quality food and diminishing biodiversity Most people who live in urban areas have developed an attitude towards the quality of food that comes from the rural areas.
The quality of food produced in rural areas has decreased due to factors such as over cultivation and lack of production inputs such as fertilizers (Clark, 1999). The growing of one type of crop, monoculture, and the rearing of particular type of animal species has also discouraged biodiversity. Here, biodiversity refers to the presence of a variety species of plants and animals that can provide food for humans. Lack of biodiversity has caused food quality to decline significantly.
One of the ways to conserve biodiversity is practicing urban agriculture. This is because in the cities there is enough technology that can be used to improve and conserve biodiversity, and at the end the quality of food can improve. Tissue culture and other genetic technologies can be used to conserve germplasm and species can be multiplied in urban areas using improved technologies to provide high quality foods. Already golden rice has been genetically engineered to provide for some nutrients that traditional rice does not produce (Clark, 1999).
It is advised that individuals should try to minimize or rather avoid significant risks and impacts that may pose dangers to sensitive species, habitats and ecosystems. This implies that they should understand that humans and the natural environment are interdependent and interact with each other in various ways. In managing what they do to the environment they will consider those interrelationships and the functions ecosystem perform in supporting sustainable economic development (Clark, 1999).
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