Challenges and Strategies Among the Poor: Focus on Urban Agriculture in KwaMashu, Durban, South Africa
AbstractUrban agriculture in South Africa historically has been labeled as an illegal activity. The problems caused by this labeling have been compounded by the traditional planning system in South Africa, which does not recognize urban agriculture as a part of the land use in the urban landscape. Despite its illegality, however, current evidence shows that it is commonly practiced by many poor households in developing countries. There is growing evidence that most countries are gradually recognizing the value of urban agriculture to poor households, and to this end they are beginning to realize the importance of incorporating it into their urban policy packages.
Despite this recognition and acceptance of urban agriculture as a livelihood and food-security strategy among the urban poor, little attention is paid to it. This paper explores urban agriculture as one of the survival strategies among the urban poor in Durban's KwaMashu residential area. The focus is on the nature of urban agriculture and the competing challenges associated with it. At the core of some of the challenges are existing legislation and policies that seem to be unresponsive to urban agriculture. Despite this unresponsive legislation, we show that urban agriculture continues to flourish along sensitive areas such as river banks and on road right-of-ways. The paper concludes by arguing that the onus is on the local authorities to promote urban agriculture by putting in place mechanisms that should promote its growth and integrate it into mainstream development plans.
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