THE PLACE FOR URBAN AND PERI-URBAN HORTICULTURE IN NURTURING AND NOURISHING THE URBAN POOR: RESEARCHABLE ISSUES FOR HORTICULTURAL SCIENCE

N.E. Looney
The production and daily delivery to market of perishable horticultural crops from smallholder farmers close to large urban centres (peri-urban horticulture; market gardening) have been important for millennia. An assortment of vegetables, fruits, flowers and also herbal and medicinal plants is delivered directly to urban consumers, rich and poor, with little or no official oversight with respect to quality or safety. However, the surge in world population from 2 to 7 billion during the past 70 years, and especially a well-documented rural-to-urban migration, have profoundly influenced both the practicality of traditional peri-urban agriculture and the numbers of the urban poor. Cities have expanded and displaced farmers from their land. Competition for water resources can be fierce and modern food quality and safety expectations increasingly demand better compliance and oversight. One might argue that these various factors constraining peri-urban horticulture, as well as the burgeoning population of the urban poor, have heightened the interest in producing horticultural crops within urban centers, or in other words, in urban horticulture.
The research needed to inform public policy about how urban and peri-urban horticulture is valued, practiced and utilized to benefit the poor must involve social geographers, demographers, nutritionists, epidemiologists, horticulturists and many other professionals. However, the horticultural science and industry sector can also address some key problems and constraints. It can inform issues about what to grow and where to grow it. This sector knows about marketing – delivering safe and attractive products to consumers. Perhaps most importantly, horticulturists can credibly address issues about land, labour, water and the crop production/protection inputs needed for successful and sustainable production. Examples include developing and introducing varieties and cultivars better suited for urban and periurban production and direct marketing, e.g., cultivars resilient to climate change or resistant to key pests and diseases which thus require fewer pesticides; introduction of plant materials and technologies that maximize water use efficiency; and improving crop harvesting, handling and storage practices to permit reliable delivery of safe and nutritious produce.
Looney, N.E. (2014). THE PLACE FOR URBAN AND PERI-URBAN HORTICULTURE IN NURTURING AND NOURISHING THE URBAN POOR: RESEARCHABLE ISSUES FOR HORTICULTURAL SCIENCE. Acta Hortic. 1021, 21-25
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2014.1021.1
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.2014.1021.1
horticulture for development, food and nutrition security, income security
English

Acta Horticulturae