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Article

What Constraints the Expansion of Urban Agriculture in Benin?

1
Athena Institute/Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1085, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2
Laboratoire d’Etude sur la Pauvreté et la Performance de l’Agriculture (LEPPA), Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, University of Abomey-Calavi, 03 BP 2819 R.P. Cotonou, Benin
3
Centre d’Actions pour l’Environnement et le Développement Durable, BP 660 Abomey-Calavi, Benin
4
Amsterdam Centre for World Food Studies, De Boelelaan 1085, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(14), 5774; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12145774
Received: 26 May 2020 / Revised: 14 July 2020 / Accepted: 15 July 2020 / Published: 17 July 2020
Propelled by rapid urbanization, city administrations in low- and middle-income countries face a raft of challenges to secure food and nutrition for its poor urban dwellers. Urban agriculture (UA) seems a viable intervention to address urban food insecurity, however, experience has shown that urban gardens do not expand at the expected rate. Tackling this issue requires a deeper understanding of the main constraints that block UA expansion. Benin is not an exception; the country witnesses a breathtaking growth of its main cities that is in synchronization with a mounting food insecurity. Our research aims, therefore, to identify the main constraints for the expansion of UA in Benin, and adopt a three-pronged approach combined with a systematic literature review, a survey held among experienced urban gardeners, and in-depth interviews with stakeholders. Altogether, the synthesis shows a predominance of five main constraints: lack of land and tenure insecurity, insufficient government support, restricted market access, limited access to productive factors, and inequality issues. Specifically, while the review showed that most barriers are linked and could be tackled together, the survey indicated a political unwillingness which in our in-depth interviews is explained by the unperceived benefits of investing in UA and the lack of enforcement of urban development plans. We suggest that Beninese authorities and academics move in synchronization where the former coordinates the planning of urban gardens and the latter provides evidence to trigger public and private investments in UA. The findings could be the basis for further research on UA in West Africa and the wider continent. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban farming; urban agriculture; cities; drivers; barriers; urban planning; urbanization; land tenure; low- and middle-income countries; Benin; Africa urban farming; urban agriculture; cities; drivers; barriers; urban planning; urbanization; land tenure; low- and middle-income countries; Benin; Africa
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MDPI and ACS Style

Houessou, M.D.; van de Louw, M.; Sonneveld, B.G.J.S. What Constraints the Expansion of Urban Agriculture in Benin? Sustainability 2020, 12, 5774. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12145774

AMA Style

Houessou MD, van de Louw M, Sonneveld BGJS. What Constraints the Expansion of Urban Agriculture in Benin? Sustainability. 2020; 12(14):5774. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12145774

Chicago/Turabian Style

Houessou, Mawuna Donald, Mirte van de Louw, and Ben G. J. S. Sonneveld. 2020. "What Constraints the Expansion of Urban Agriculture in Benin?" Sustainability 12, no. 14: 5774. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12145774

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