ASSESSMENT OF URBAN AGRICULTURE AS A MEANS OF SUSTAINABLE URBAN LIVELIHOOD IN ENUGU METROPOLIS, ENUGU STATE NIGERIA
Urban agriculture is defined as the practice of farming within the boundaries of towns or cities. It is one of the most common informal sector activities of urban dwellers in Enugu. Farming in this sense involves crop cultivation, animal rearing and fish farming. In this definition of urban agriculture, the location of farms plays the most important role. Approximately half of the residents in Enugu are involved in the practice. This is similar to the rates in other towns/cities in sub-Saharan Africa. The nature of urban agricultural activities in Enugu was evaluated, and the benefit of the activities of urban agricultural practitioners in terms of income generation and poverty alleviation for a sustainable livelihood of the urban household was established. The three local government areas of Enugu North, Enugu South and Enugu East, were purposively selected for the study. This is because they all fall within the Enugu urban area. Purposive sampling technique was used to elicit information based on the perceived activities of Enugu urban farmers. Furthermore, stratified sampling technique was adopted in the study. The stratification was based on the prevalent farm types in the study area, viz: mixed farms, vegetable farms, fruit farms, floriculture, poultry, pig farms, goat-keeping and fish farms. The major urban agricultural activities are mixed crop cultivation (38.8 percent), Vegetable farming (27.2 percent), and production of fruits (1.7 percent), Fish farming (6.5 percent), Floriculture (1.6 percent), Poultry production (14.3 percent), Pig farming (6.6 percent), and Goat keeping (3.5 percent). In this study, women (52 percent) were found to be marginally more involved in urban agricultural activities than men (48 percent), perhaps because of the established central and cultural role of women in household food delivery. Three hypotheses were postulated and tested in the study. Hypothesis 1 stated that: The expenditure on farm inputs and income generated from urban agricultural activities has no significant relationship. Regrerssion analysis was used to test this hypothesis. Although, the farm input: income ratio (percent) varied by farm type, there was a significant positive correlation (r = 0.944) between the expenditure on farm inputs and income generated from urban agricultural activities in Enugu Metropolis. Hypothesis 2 stated that: The incomes from urban agricultural activities by practitioners in Enugu Metropolis do not have significant effect on their household expenditure. The household expenditures considered included Labour, School Fees, Rent, Household Food and Savings. Regression analysis was also used to test for significant relationship between the income from urban agricultural activities by practitioners in Enugu Metropolis and their Household (HH) expenditure. There was a high correlation between income and labour (r = 0.966), income and total household food expenditure and savings (r = 0.970) the correlation between income and school fees was (r = 0.677) while income and rent was (r = 0.653). Hypothesis 3 states that: Incomes generated from urban agricultural activities do not significantly vary among the three Local Government Areas of Enugu Metropolis. This was tested using the One-Way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). The incomes generated from urban agricultural activities did not significantly vary among the three Local Government Areas of Enugu Metropolis (0.953>0.05). The study concluded that urban agricultural activities can be operated as a viable and sustainable economic, environmental, social and political system. To ensure that the full potentials of urban agriculture in reducing urban poverty are realized in Enugu, the following recommendations were made: (a) Community participation in municipal key decisions on urban agriculture (b) The development of linkages with other sectors in Government. (c) Integration of urban agriculture into the Nigerian cities’ planning vision should be accompanied by policies that seek to expand the water supply infrastructure to accommodate urban agriculture. (d) National and local government should support affordable urban land tenure reforms or long-term leases for poor urban farmers. (e) Zoning codes should be revised to support urban food production.