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Information and the problems of urban agriculture in Tanzania : intentions and realizations Mlozi, Malongo R. S.


Urban agriculture is practised in most Third World societies not as a hobby but as a necessity both for subsistence food production and to earn extra income. Africa, and in particular, Tanzania, is no exception. In Tanzania, and especially Dar es Salaam the practice of urban agriculture damages the urban environment. The question addressed by this study was how to explain the persistence of urban agriculture in Dar es Salaam in the light of its evident damaging effects on the urban environment. This study uses data obtained through (a) documentary sources such as government reports and statistics, and (b) field data from interviews and observations. Interviews were held with twenty-nine urban agriculturalists and twenty-seven public officials. On average, urban agriculturalists earned annual net profits from livestock enterprises that were about 15 times the total annual salary income of a low income worker, and six times that of a senior public official. The study also found that respondents with high salary earnings also earned high incomes from their urban agriculture enterprises. Most respondents expressed agreement with most statements about the issues about environmental damage due to keeping livestock. However, less than half the interviewees agreed with those statements related to disease-health issues. Most respondents said that people did urban agriculture mainly for economic motivations. They also agreed that people persisted in doing damaging urban agriculture in part because the City Council did not enforce its bylaws. They also said that the government policy explicitly and implicitly encouraged people to do urban agriculture. Most pubhc officials interviewed agreed that most agriculturalists had knowledge about the damaging effects of their practices. This study used factors nested at four contextual levels (government, ministry, city council, and individual) to explain people's persistence in doing urban agriculture in spite of its damaging effects. To lessen environmental damage, this study recommends that: (1) A policy be formulated, (2) The government foster multidisciplinary and coordinated participatory educational approaches that adopt holistic views, (3) The City Council enforces its bylaws aided by other parties, (4) MALCD extension agents offer information inequitably. The study also discusses implications and recommendations for policy, practice, and other areas for further research.

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