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laws support urban agriculture'
July 27, 2004
STUDY conducted by the Municipal Development Partnership (MDP) and the
Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) has established that Zimbabwean
laws support urban agriculture but have been wrongly interpreted to suppress
The research findings were
made public last week at a workshop on the policy and legislative framework
for urban agriculture in Zimbabwe.
"The research also establishes
that in what is seemingly a very prohibitive environment, there are indeed
many opportunities that exist in legislation for the practice of urban
agriculture, contrary to popular belief that the law prohibits urban agriculture
The research found out that
there are a number of legislative pieces that impact on urban agriculture
at both national and municipal levels.
The legislation, however, does
not refer to urban agriculture per se, but rather to farming in urban
"It is the combination
of the multiplicity of legislation and the silence in that legislation
on urban agriculture, coupled with misinterpretation by those that enforce
the law, that has led to confusion in the sector, on its legal standing,"
says the study.
The MDP and ZELA say it is
that confusion that prompted the research.
The main purpose of the research
was to identify relevant and current policies and legislation, which impact
on urban agriculture as a basis for initiating the improvement of current
"The key finding from
this research is that urban agriculture as a concept or practice is not
prohibited in the legal system and especially with specific reference
to the scope of this inquiry, in Harare. Although there are legal provisions
which may be utilised to outlaw some or all agricultural activities within
any urban set-up, the current laws are designed to regulate rather than
Urban agriculture has lately
become a full-time job for households who have literally invaded all open
spaces for agricultural needs.
"Urban agriculture has
also grown in substance, as people have now diversified from the traditional
crops to include new commercial crops like mushrooms," said the researchers.
Addressing the workshop, MDP-ESA
regional director Mr George Matovu said the growth of urban agriculture
would significantly contribute to food self-sufficiency, employment generation
and improvement of life for urbanities.
"In 2005, we plan to work
with a select few pilot municipalities in a programme called 'Making
the Edible Landscape: Integrating Urban Agriculture in Urban Planning
and Design'," he said.
The International Development
Research Centre would partner MDP in the design of specific layout plans
that integrate urban agriculture and support its development and construction.
"This way we hope to demonstrate
in practical terms how integrating urban agriculture into urban development
can be done in a manner that is aesthetically pleasing, adding beauty
to the landscape and feeding the urban poor," said Mr Matovu.
Urban Councils' Association
of Zimbabwe (UCAZ) secretary-general Mr Ferris Zimunya said urban councils
are faced with increasing challenges of unemployment, urban food insecurity,
and weakening economic base that lead to the impoverishment of the urban
He expressed hope that urban
dwellers would be able to utilise the many farms surrounding urban centres
acquired by Government for agricultural purposes.
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