Gianquinto and Tei - Urban horticulture in Developing Countries: multifunctional role, farming systems and future perspectives

Giorgio Gianquinto1* e Francesco Tei2
1 Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Agroambientali, Università di Bologna, viale Fanin 44, 40127 Bologna
2 Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie e Ambientali, Università di Perugia, Borgo XX Giugno 74, 06121 Perugia

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Key words: urban food production, food security, urban poverty, urban and peri-urban farming systems, organoponics, simplified hydroponics.

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Abstract

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In 2007 for the first time the world urban population has been higher than the rural one. Poverty is increasing at higher rate in the cities than in the countryside, and in developing countries than in developed ones. Urban agriculture and in particular Urban Horticulture (UH) are for many countries and large cities a crucial factor for the improvement of food supply and safety, health conditions, local economy, social integration and environmental sustainability. The widespread and the importance of UH varies with countries in relation to the market, the natural resources and labour availability, the environmental pollution and the climatic conditions but, however, its role is increasing throughout the world. Traditional farming systems for UH can be classified in four main types: allotment and family gardens, simplified extensive systems, shifting cultivation and intensive systems. Soilless cultures are spreading in Developing Countries to find solution to low fertility of the soils, low irrigation water availability, small extension of cultivated soils and environmental pollution. Main innovative systems are organoponics (i.e. crop grow on several natural substrates and composts) and simplified soilless cultures (es. floating system, garrafas PET, etc.). The paper analyses social, cultural, technical, economic and political factors in the Developing Countries that can affect the future of a sustainable UH.

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