The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


DPU Working Paper - No. 157

Urban food sovereignty: Food, land and democracy in Kampala

Kampala, Uganda

14 September 2013

Author: Christopher Yap

Publication Date: September 2013

ISSN: 1474-3280

In urban centres across East Africa, the combination of the Global Food Crisis and unprecedented rates of urbanisation has resulted in chronic food insecurity for the urban poor. Urban agriculture is widely practiced across the region, particularly by low-income groups. The purpose of this paper is to consider how one response to the prevailing, inequitable world food system, Food Sovereignty, might be realised through urban agriculture and the ways that the realities of urban agriculture might be used to strengthen the Food Sovereignty Framework as it is currently conceived.

In this paper I explore the current and potential significance of urban agriculture in Kampala and review the evidence for the contribution of urban food production to the realisation of Food Sovereignty with particular focus on the Right to Food, land reform and democratic control. I also outline some of the practical, social and legal challenges facing urban food producers and identify some opportunities for the city authorities to improve the support for pro-poor urban agriculture.
I argue that whilst urban agriculture is making a significant contribution to the realisation of the Right to Food at household level, a number of institutional and social challenges are restricting the impact of urban agriculture as an inclusive, pro-poor development activity.


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