Socio and Bio-physical Benefits
|Title:||Rooftop Gardening as a Strategy of Urban Agriculture for Food Security: The Case of Dhaka City Bangladesh|
|Journal/Conference/etc.:||Proceedings IC on Urban Horticulture Eds. R. Junge-Berberovic et al.|
|On pages/Number of pages:||241-247|
|Publisher:||Acta Hort. 643, ISHS 2004|
Urban population in the cities of developing countries are growing rapidly which also means the number of low-income consumers is increasing. Because of this, food insecurity in these cities is increasing. Urban agriculture (UA) contributes to food security by increasing the supply of food and by enhancing the quality of perishable foods reaching urban consumers. The exploration of local socio-economic and institutional conditions that might promote and hinder urban agriculture is needed to implement policies that effectively integrate agriculture into the urban environment. This study aims to identify the potential for and barriers to UA with reference to rooftop gardening (RTG) and to explore strategies to promote food security in Dhaka.
Purpose of Research
The purpose of the research is to identify the potential for and barriers to Urban Agriculture using Rooftops
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This paper is a discussion paper based on an attitudnal survey on urban agriculture and rooftop gardening.
The pertinent information on the subject was collected from various primary as well as secondary sources. The feasibility of rooftop gardening (RTG) was explored through a questionnaire survey of the owner’s of households and a survey of occupants and responsible authorities of selected public and commercial buildings. Moreover, a focus group discussion was also organized where stakeholders were invited to discuss the prospects and problems of rooftop gardening in the city. For example, NGO people (on providing micro credit), City Corporation Departments (on changing zoning regulation), land and house owners (on leasing and allowing tenant to gardening) and general public (on their overall reaction) were asked to express their opinion.
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Although there has not been found any restriction on RTG, government response to it has generally been one of neglect. The financial barrier fuelled by lack of awareness is limiting the promotion of RTG in the city. In order to realize the potential that RTG can offer, major shifts in thinking of the policy makers is required. The most radical one would be on part of the city officials to integrate UA in general and RTG in particular with urban planning. The scarcity of land is a key constraint on the use of land by the poor in Dhaka. They have not been fully able to utilize their village-honed skills in agriculture. Roofs of the public buildings can be leased out carefully so that they can be given only to the interested poor. NGOs could offer help the poor in this regard.
On most roofs, some form of pleasure garden exists (78%), sometimes there are fruit gardens (12%) and less often, vegetable garden as well (8%) All the owners interviewed enjoy gardening. About 68% of the residents spend 50-80 Canadian $ per annum. Many of them have plans to initiate food gardening (65%) in the future. Only less than 5% of house owners are willing to allow tenants to RTG. They also do not want to increase rent to allow their tenants to RTG as they might lose the tenant if rent is increased. Although many roofs are currently being underutilized the owners seem to be reluctant to allow outsiders in the roofs. They worry that this may hamper their privacy. Every house owner thinks that their roofs are suitable for gardening and do not require improvement work. In 75% cases shedding from the next building were not perceived as a problem. More than 75% also did not identify any physical barriers. Most owners (75%) are reluctant to take any outside help(75%). Less than 15 % respondens sought partial help (from nurseries and friends). However, about 40% owners are willing to join Rooftop Gardeners Association if formed in the future. The possibility of burglary seems to be a main problem. Other anticipated problems include attack of the gardens by insects, birds and monkeys.
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