Graduate School hosts a colloquium on implications of urban Agri-social enterprises on urban poverty, food safety and livability

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Akosa Wambalaba presents the findings during the colloquium.PHOTO:Ernest Mwanzi

By Ernest Mwanzi

On Thursday, June 6, the School of Graduate Studies, Research and Extension hosted a colloquium on Social Enterprise Development towards Urban Livability and Safe AgriFood Supply, a research that was done to evaluate implications of urban Agri-social enterprises on urban poverty, food safety, and livability at the Chandaria School of Business.

This research focused on the current practices and implications of marginalized urban populations AgriFood practices with respect to urban poverty, food safety and livability; the challenges poor urban populations face in practicing urban AgriFood activities; and the effective strategies and policy interventions for mitigating challenges against poor urban populations’ AgriFood practices.

The study showed the challenges which the poor urban populations face in practicing urban AgriFood activities which included, exposure of crops cultivated along urban roadsides to pollution; crops being irrigated with contaminated water; and underground farmers illegally producing unsafe, unhealthy and environmentally unfriendly foods.

As a result, four policy interventions for mitigating challenges against poor urban populations’ AgriFood practices were covered. The first policy area was on inclusive industrialization and innovation and the support of providing urban farming supportive infrastructure; providing information on city-owned properties suitable for urban farming; and providing publicity markets and large international food logistics terminals and how they can support more inclusive practices.

The second policy area focused on general enhancement of urban farming, calling for holistic incentive strategies through establishing food enterprise zones; and reducing use of trucks by increasing alternative non-polluting means to distribute urban produced foods.

The third policy area was on using urban farming as a sustainable economic growth and decent work and a call to support local food processors by marketing their products through targeted branding and campaigning, as well as agri-tourism initiatives; holistic incentive strategies where financial and zoning incentives are offered in designated parts of the city; and holistic incentive strategies to stimulate integration of urban farming, healthy food retail, and value-added food processing.

The final policy issue was on management of water and sanitation. It emphasizes on educating professional planners to create healthy, livable and sustainable communities; selection and use of drought-resistant plants, use of soil that retain humidity and can increase water efficiency in urban projects; and educating planners about the current disconnect between planning and food systems.

This research was conducted by Prof. Francis Wambalaba, Professor of Economics, Dr. Gabriel Okello, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, Akosa Wambalaba, Lecturer, French, Yogo Carol, Senior Research Officer and Mark Namasake Graduate Assistant and funded through an internal grant from USIU-Africa.

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