Urban and peri-urban farming has a potential to address challenges related to food insecurity among city and town dwellers. It provides the urban population with food, nutrition and a source of income and employment, thus reducing on poverty and food scarcity. It has the advantage of proximity to urban markets which saves on transportation costs, thereby increasing farmers’ profitability. This study was carried out to establish the current characteristics and trends of urban and peri-urban crop farming in Central Uganda. To accomplish this, a household survey was conducted in Kampala, Wakiso and Masaka districts, Central Uganda. A total of 297 farming households were interviewed on a number of aspects including cropping practices, income sources, home gardening techniques, marketing, irrigation and household waste management. Focus group discussions were also held in each district. Cropping activities were found to contribute on average 40% to the income of farming households, complementing other livelihood sources such as transport business, livestock production, formal employment and other trade. The major crops grown were vegetables, maize, beans, bananas and avocado. A number of home gardening techniques were identified among farmers, for instance, growing crops on food towers, in buckets and bags (sacks). Irrigation and fertilizer application were practiced by 60% of households, mainly on vegetables. Sixty-four percent of the households recycled waste and of these, 75% converted kitchen waste into manure for crop production. We recommend farmers’ training on use of household biodegradable waste in home gardening for improved nutrient use efficiency, economical irrigation water management strategies, and other agronomic and marketing aspects of crops that are commercially viable in urban areas, particularly horticultural crops.
Key words: Urban and peri-urban farming, cropping practices, food security, income.
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