Authors: Yemi Akegbejo-Samsons
African Journal of Food Agriculture Nutrition and Development, Vol. 8, No. 1, March, 2008, pp. 48-62
Throughout the globe, agriculture is increasingly a part of city landscapes. Rising demands for water to supply agriculture, industry and cities are leading to competition over the allocation of limited water resources.
It has been observed that coastal wetland settlements are usually worse hit by discharge and effluents of upper-stream water uses. This paper discusses the practice of urban agriculture (UA) and fishing, which is a predominant coastal activity in the coastal settlements of Ondo state of Nigeria.
It highlights the problems and prospects of urban agriculture on the local economies of the study areas. Results from this study show that UA was a preferred complement to rural agricultural practice. It was observed that UA complemented supplies from rural agriculture, whereby arable crops and regular village menu items are produced along side perennial crops. Products like tomatoes, okra, African garden-eggs and peppers are produced to complement those produced from rural agriculture. Increasing coastal poverty was found to have assumed a staggering phenomenon in over 64% of the visited coastal cities.
Community food security at the household level in the study area has forced the community to be involved in the following UA activities: (a) arable farming within open spaces and court yards; (b) vegetable production; (c) paddy rice production especially in cities like Mahin, Idiogba, that are located close to canals and lagoons; (d) cassava and yam production in upland coastal cities such as Igbokoda and Igbekebo. The results show that as successful as urban agriculture seems to be, incomes from fishing and other aquacultural activities was higher than rural and urban agriculture.
Successful local water recycling has not been practicable in the study area and as a result the same quality of water is used for human, animal and agricultural purposes. Specifically, over 80% of household water demand is from canals, rivers and streams in these study areas. This was found to have a serious health implication. In monetary terms, incomes from fishing were found to be higher than that from urban agriculture by over 65%, however fishers still prefer to combine UA with fishing for reason of food intake (feeding the family with staple food varieties). Sustainable management of the coastal areas for overall productivity is advocated.
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