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Urban agriculture and poverty reduction: Evaluating how food production in cities contributes to food security, employment and income in Malawi


  • David D. Mkwambisi
  • Evan D. G. Fraser
  • Andy J. Dougill


Support of urban agriculture can be used as a route to reducing urban poverty across Sub-Saharan Africa. However policy makers require more precise information on how it contributes to alleviating food insecurity and poverty problems. This study in Malawi's two main cities (Lilongwe and Blantyre) revealed two predominant ‘types’ of urban farmers: (i) low‐income, less educated, often female‐headed households, who use urban agriculture as an insurance against income losses and who can employ skilled workers to support their livestock activities; and (ii) middle‐ and high‐income, often male‐headed households, that undertake urban agriculture for personal consumption and hire significant numbers of unskilled workers. Within the low‐income group, there are some female headed‐households who are now receiving significant income from livestock programmes having been provided with initial external support from a non‐governmental organisation. Our findings suggest a need for a two‐pronged policy approach to try and improve the overall effectiveness of urban agriculture support, namely to (1) target poor women with extension and development project support; and (2) support wealthier farmers to increase the employment opportunities associated with urban agriculture. Copyright (C) 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • David D. Mkwambisi & Evan D. G. Fraser & Andy J. Dougill, 2011. "Urban agriculture and poverty reduction: Evaluating how food production in cities contributes to food security, employment and income in Malawi," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(2), pages 181-203, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jintdv:v:23:y:2011:i:2:p:181-203

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    Cited by:

    1. Tibesigwa, Byela & Visser, Martine, 2016. "Assessing Gender Inequality in Food Security among Small-holder Farm Households in urban and rural South Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 33-49.
    2. William G. Moseley, 2016. "Agriculture on the Brink: Climate Change, Labor and Smallholder Farming in Botswana," Land, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(3), pages 1-14, June.
    3. repec:blg:journl:v:12:y:2017:i:2:p:6-19 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Poulsen, Melissa N. & McNab, Philip R. & Clayton, Megan L. & Neff, Roni A., 2015. "A systematic review of urban agriculture and food security impacts in low-income countries," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 131-146.


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