Vertical Urban Farming - Seminar, Report, and Videos

Vertical Urban Farming - Seminar, Report, and Videos

Vertical Urban Farming - Seminar, Report, and Videos

06 MARCH 2018

In December 2017, Brian Ndyaguma, a young project manager and entrepreneur with several years of experience in business development and acceleration; and innovation hub management in Uganda, gave a seminar at SLU about vertical urban farming in Kampala, Uganda. Read the seminar report, watch the recorded seminar and an interview with Brian.

 

Watch the interview with Brian Ndyaguma on YouTube.

 

 

Urban centers in low-income countries go through an explosive growth in human population. The resulting high levels of unemployment and issues with adequate food supplies, require an appropriate response. Kampala alone needs around 3,000 tons of food per day to feed its population. While cities may not easily be regarded as production centers for food, they do offer opportunities for creating gainful employment in agriculture. In fact, urban farming scattered around Kampala and its suburbs is growing and contributes around 35% of the food that comes to the city. Youth participation in urban farming is increasing because such farms can be easily managed and there is good access to high end markets. But there are challenges: most urban farmers are growing food for subsistence purposes, live in unhealthy environments (e.g. sharing small plots of land with plants and animals), use poor/non-organic farming practices, have poor post-harvest handling methods, lack business management skills and knowledge of the value chains to improve their output.

Brian Ndyaguma showed that there are good possibilities to overcome most of these issues, and farm in the very city centers without access to good soils. His seminar at SLU on the 7th of December 2017 illustrated that whereas science creates knowledge for innovation, (Agri)business can help pinpoint where the knowledge gaps are and where innovations are most needed, and hence help define the research agenda. Brian, who is working with the Resilient African Network lab (RANlab), is an expert on how to facilitate innovations and businesses. However, more than talk-the-talk, he enacts the very principles of his RANlab job during off hours, by running a restaurant in the center of Kampala (Kahwa2Go Restaurant and Café). During his seminar, he showed first handedly how to effectively produce large quantities of high quality and high-value food using mini gardens (bagged soils). Using wooden terraces, the limited space could be more efficiently used and production increased, i.e., vertical urban farming.  The idea is grafted on models from Asia, and has every potential to reduce the food chain supply challenges in Kampala, while creating employment for the youth both directly as well as through building the value chains.

During his seminar he posed challenges to the scientific audience for the current knowledge gaps and innovations that could enhance the application of vertical urban farming, such as efficient, low cost drip irrigation systems, methods of space maximization, modified farming practices and food handling practices, and technologic innovations such as methods for quick assessment of soil quality.

Related pages: 

Teun Dekker, Researcher at the Department of Plant Protection Biology
Theme leader at SLU Global
teun.dekker@slu.se, 040-415306

SLU Global supports and develops SLU's commitment to improve the situation for people in low-income countries based on the Globals Goals of the Agenda 2030 for sustainable development.

SLU Global
Vice-Chancellor's Office

Agricultural Sciences for Global Development
PO Box 7005, SE-750 07 Uppsala
Visiting address: Almas Allé 7
www.slu.se/slu-global 
global@slu.se      

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