Planning the unplanned: incorporating agriculture as an urban land use into the Dar es Salaam master plan and beyond

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Despite significant contributions to human health, livelihoods and food security, urban agriculture in Dar es Salaam has received relatively little political support from central and local government due to its informal state. As a result, many urban farmers' experience insecurity of land access and ownership, and are unable to invest in the improvement of their land, inputs and infrastructure. Although there have been several attempts by various international and foreign organizations to legitimize and institutionalize urban agriculture in Dar es Salaam, very little has changed politically over the past 30 years. This study focuses on the current incorporation of urban agriculture into the Dar es Salaam 2012-2032 Master Plan (still unapproved as of June 2013), and examines how local and central governments legitimize the practice of urban agriculture. It also looks at how greater acceptance, or institutionalization, can take place through formalized processes. The past and present legitimization processes for urban agriculture in Dar es Salaam, and their intended and unintended outcomes, provide an in-depth analysis for this case study. It argues that the sustainability of urban agriculture is largely dependent on political commitment from both local and central government. Legitimization of the practice through policy and rules and regulations can facilitate the further institutionalization of urban agriculture, especially in land use planning. However, it can also further marginalize urban farmers who cultivate open spaces within the city. Nonetheless, urban agriculture will continue to persist, adapting and innovating under the pressures of urbanization.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironment and Urbanization
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)541-558
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2013

ID: 102231724