This paper argues that urban agriculture can be transformed from its present underdeveloped status to a thriving sector in African towns, thus contributing to employment creation, income generation and the provision of food. Using three examples from East Africa (Nakuru, Morogoro and Mbeya), first, the present situation is described from a town’s perspective, thereby focusing on resource allocation (land and water), the sector’s benefits (food, income and employment) as well as its challenges (environment). Second, the question is raised how urban agriculture can be turned into a thriving economic sector, whereby three major themes are dealt with: the creation of a favourable legal and policy setting, the provision of support and education, and the improvement of market conditions. It is concluded that both the government and the private sector can and should take the lead, be it in different spheres.
Key words: Urban development, urban agriculture, urban environment, East Africa.
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