Socio-economic contribution of urban Agriculture in the city
Agriculture in Hawassa city is contributing both socially and economically to the larger society of the city. Especially, the poor households depend on a diversity of strategies to ensure food security, income and well-being (CIP, 2007, Hovorka and Keboneilwe, 2004) due to price inflation of food products in urban centers.
Social contribution of urban agriculture
Socially, urban agriculture is maintaining the cultural experience of the local society by practicing it for several decades. The primary goal of urban agriculture is to support the urban society with food (Hendrickson et al., 2012 as cited in Ibrahim et al., 2015) plus to lessen the highly increasing cost of food items/inputs. The society is involved in cultivating different crops in addition to the locally family food “Enset” and other cash crops like coffee chat, etc. the major crop varieties in the area for home consumption to secure the food demand especially in semi-urban sub-cities of Hawassa city is Maize.
Figure.1: Cultivated Maize crop in Hawassa city
Urban agriculture in Hawassa city consisted of cultivation of different varieties of vegetables and fruits trees both inside/outside of their home garden including Onion, Cabbage (Tikil Gommen), Tomato, Muskmelon (locally named “Ye china Duba”), Avocado, Banana, Mango, etc. using water from lake Hawssa as irrigation source (Cofie et al., 2003). The society is practicing the cultivation of the mention vegetables and fruits to support their livelihood via consumption and the larger urban population with food contributing to the maintenance of the social organizations of the residents not to be under the impression of social destruction because almost all the hungry people live in developing countries (FAO, 2012). In addition to serving as a source of major and efficient sources of micronutrients (AVRDC, 1996) compared to other crops, vegetables, and fruits in Hawassa city today is being used as a strategy to covert the lakeside cultivation. This is to prevent Hawassa Lake from pollution and encroachment to some extent, especially; fruit trees are being distributed by the DA experts and planted by the residents having farmland nearby the Lake.
Figure 2: Vegetables and fruit trees cultivated in Hawassa city
In addition to crop cultivation, residents of Hawassa city keep livestock (especially, Tula (Tulu and Dato Kebeles) and Addis Ketema Sub cities) simultaneously. In the central part of the city, dwellers are mainly keeping and interested in Dairy farming including cooperative organizations. Urban agriculture, therefore, strengthens the weak social interaction of urban society via crating cooperative organizations (E.g. Serten Endeg dairy farm cooperative in Diaspora sub-city). So, the society can interact to work together and share a culture of work (Sarah, 2010) and cooperate due to the existence of the urban agriculture practice. One of these cooperative organizations found in diaspora sub-city sells their milk product to a business organization called “Enat Wotet”, implying inter-linkage of the society via marketing due to the existence of high demand for agricultural products. Therefore, it exposes the producers to the city and the wider society obtaining the livestock either from local society or in the form of breed from other sources (For instance, a good hybrid goat was come from Konso District to rare via different Governmental and Non-Governmental Organizations). Urban agriculture, therefore, supplies food and composite for different societies of the city from livestock animal production.
Figure 3: Livestock keeping in Hawassa
In wider understanding, urban agriculture is also being introducing to agricultural technology to be practiced in Hawassa city via intensification strategy. The technologies are adopted either through the invention or further interacting with other pinner institutions/organizations and exposing the local producers to the globe. So, mechanization of urban and semi-urban agriculture will be there due to the existence of the practice in urban areas.
Economic contribution of urban agriculture
Economically, urban agriculture is helping the practitioners and different stakeholders in the society to generate income via employment creation (Veenhuizen et al., 2006) and introduce saving habits to enrich themself financially. In addition, to support and trying to support their family with food the urban population is generating income from cultivating and producing products and by-products of both crops and livestock.
As mentioned, earlier in Hawassa city different households supply a variety of vegetable crops (Potutan et al., 2000; Danso, 2001) produced near the lake to the urban population in order to exchange with money to generate income. Some of the producers, even being vertically integrated as traders, having a market shop locally called “Medeb” selling their produce to different individual consumers in addition to supplying to the wholesalers. In association, therefore, this practice is resulting in agricultural employment creation (Ibrahim et al., 2015; Sarah, 2010; Ionel, 2010) for a number of citizens (daily laborers on farmland and in Hawassa market) and organizations (E.g. transporters). Beyond the individual producer’s income generations, urban agriculture also introduces and makes the existence of microenterprises as “Limat budine” to cooperate and strengthen the socio-economic bond. So, the urban agriculturists are involved in crop production and livestock keeping with the provision of their products to society. In addition to crop by-products, the society is keeping beef cattle, dairy cows, Sheep and goats and polluters, donkeys, etc. More specifically, in the middle of the city the producers are not focusing on the Beef cattle due to the absence of cattle keeping the house as the compound is too small per individual so they are most of the timekeeping only dairy caws in a confined area to have Milk and milk by-products for home consumption and semi-commercializing (Teferee, 2003). Therefore, urban agriculture is supplying the city with fruits and vegetables, meats, milk, eggs, and other products (Sarah, 2010).
The urban agriculture in Hawassa city is, in addition to products, resulting in the provision of different agricultural inputs (Like compost, fodders) as illustrated below (Figure 4). These inputs are entirely obtained from urban agriculture and re-used as input again and to generate income via selling to other farmers as fertilizer and feed to increase the product and productivity of urban agriculture. Some are also providing transportation service renting Donkey cart, especially, contributing to the hygiene of Hawassa city plus creating employment (Sarah, 2010) for street dwellers who drive the cart to collect waste and even supporting and facilitating the marketing of other industrial products throughout different market centers of the city (as in developing country and city) with the problem attached to the carts.
Figure 4: Agricultural inputs produced and re-used to clean the city
Urban agriculture and waste management and urban greening
In addition to the socio-economic contribution of urban agriculture in urban centers, it is also a means of waste management and urban greening in Hawassa city.
Urban agriculture and Waste management
A waste from different sources of the city is to be separated to be organically assumed free of toxicity in the form of composite used as a fertilizer in the urban agricultural lands. This, therefore, resulted in the reduction of load on Hawassa city urban landfills to be sustainably used indicting organic matter amendments derived from urban wastes is commonly quoted as one of the greatest environmental benefits of urban agriculture as it can assist with waste disposal (Eigenbrod and Gruda, 2015; Steve H et al, 2016). Urban agriculture beyond waste management also uses waste as a means of income generation. The waste, products of urban agriculture including compost from plant leaves, cattle, poultry, etc. are prepared in the home gardens of the residents (inside or outside of the compound and sold to different users of the city (especially, in the peri-urban sub-cities).
As illustrated below (Figure 5), the composts are prepared from the waste from combinations of animal and plant by-products with even the existence of some problems of management. Figure 5A is compost prepared from animal dung is with better management as compared with that of Figure 5B (Mixed of animal dung and leaves). The main problem for waste mismanagement mentioned was the partitioned land size of the city in the majority of the sub-cities. In comparison, the problem is exacerbated in urban sub-cities (E.g. Menaharia and Mehal Ketema sub-cities) than that of peri-urban (E.g. Tula sub-city) of Hawassa.
Figure 5: (A) Less managed urban waste (B) Better managed urban waste
Solid waste from Hawassa city can also reduce the bioavailability of soil lead that could exist in the farmland by up to 43% (Brown et al. 2003 as cited in Steve H et al, 2016). However, its excessive usage around the lake Hawassa by the Tulo kebele urban agriculture practitioners could result in soil lead accumulation and negatively impact water quality (Rudisill et al. 2015). In addition, the producers are using different types of chemical inputs including insecticides or pesticides, fertilizers, etc. to increase the product and productivity of urban agriculture to supply more food. This chemical usage could not only harm the environment but can also result in destroying aquatic life diversity especially the fish obtained from Lake Hawassa. Overall, this can indirectly affect the human health (CIP, 2007) of those who consume from urban agriculture in one or another way.
Figure 6: Insecticide/pesticide use round Lake Hawassa
Urban agriculture and urban greening
Here the urban agriculture contributes and plays its greatest role in maintaining and magnifying the beauty and attractiveness (Steve H et al, 2016) of Hawassa city. This indirectly will also be led to the solidification of the tourist attraction of the city and further revenue rising from tourists via services provided. Urban agriculture was being contributing to community and backyard gardens greening of Hawassa areas, improving aesthetics and well-being. The waste was being used to fertilize plantations on the roads throughout the city and the plantation around and inside residences compounds.