Enhancing Food Security in African Cities: Rural Farming by Urban Households–The Case of Nakuru Town, Kenya
Owuor, Samuel O
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Given the present circumstances of urban unemployment and poverty, access to rural food and/or income sources is an essential element in the livelihood of many urban dwellers in sub-Saharan Africa. This paper examines the nature and importance of rural farming activities in enhancing urban food security and income diversification of urban households, using Nakuru town, Kenya, as a case study. Based on a general survey held in 2001 among a representative sample of 344 households in Nakuru town, 194 (56%) could be classified as ‘rural farmers’ – that is urban households practising rural crop cultivation and/or livestock keeping. Of these, 173 (50%) could be classified as ‘rural crop cultivators’ and 111 (32%) as ‘rural livestock keepers’. The results so far indicate that rural farming is an important livelihood strategy for the urban households in terms of enhancing their food security and income diversification. For the large majorities, rural farming forms at least an additional food and/or income source. The importance of rural farming is even stressed further by the fact that 75% of the rural crop cultivators indicated that they could not survive without it. Livestock becomes an important food and/or income source only in situations where need arises, and therefore acts as a social security.