Impact of urbanisation on vegetable cultivation and supply for the traditional markets in Zambia: a case study of selected markets in Lusaka District

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

The increase in urban population has brought with it challenges that have threatened the sustainability of urban food security as less attention has been paid to aspects of food security in planning processes. However, in recent years, some International organisations and consortiums of city governors from across the world have pointed out the need to understand how urbanisation and increasing city’s population were affecting food security for urban residents as well as the need for sustainable urban food systems as it is envisioned that the world urban population will double by 2050, hence, making urbanisation one of the 21st century’s most transformative trend. The aim of this study therefore was to identify sources of key vegetables (Rape, Onion, Tomatoes, and Cabbages) supplied to the traditional markets in Lusaka as well as endeavour to understand the extent to which urbanisation had affected the production and supply of vegetables in Lusaka. This research revealed that urbanisation had caused loss of urban agriculture land in many parts of the city that were previously zoned as agricultural areas, consequently causing changing patterns of vegetable procurement. It was discovered that Lusaka heavily depended on regional food networks for its vegetable supplies as 73% of the vegetables under study were sourced from outside Lusaka while 27% were produced within the administrative boundaries of the city, particularly those classified as peri-urban areas s. Despite the city relying on regional food systems, there was lack of clear policy by the local authority to promote urban food security including lack of adequate storage and transportation infrastructure that would sustain food security in an event of disruption due to environmental and climatic challenges. Additionally, this study showed that planning for urban food security was not prioritised by local authority as food governance was done on an ad hoc basis and inundated by political interference as well as limited trading spaces which were mostly a source of conflict between market managers and vegetable farmers. Generally, the study found that governance challenges at Soweto market were negatively affecting urban food security as they inhibited accessibility, affordability and availability of vegetables for urban consumers, especially low income consumers who depended on traditional markets for their vegetable supply.