GlobE-Urban Food Plus - African-German partnership to enhance resource use efficiency in urban and peri-urban agriculture for improved food security in West African cities
African food security not only depends on productivity increases in marginal rural areas, but also on a more efficient use of niche environments such as urban and peri-urban zones. The transdisciplinary Urban Food Plus (UFP) network of German, African and international scientists, private sector representatives, and stakeholders aims at developing site-specific, farmer-tailored innovations for improved agricultural production, food safety, and value chains in four West African cities. Initially, research will be conducted in the cities of Tamale (Ghana) and Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso). An extension of UFP to Bamako (Mali) and Bamenda (Cameroun) is planned.
Within UFP, the IEE is implementing sub-project (SP) 7 (Economics). This sub-project aims at assessing the economic impacts of innovations for improving soil fertility and irrigation in urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA), as proposed and test-implemented within the collaborative, transdisciplinary research framework of Urban Food Plus. More specifically, the sub-project will look at the welfare implications of introducing biochar as a soil amendment and safer irrigation options from the perspective of urban producers and consumers.
Applying theoretical concepts and empirical methods rooted in Welfare and Environmental Economics, SP 7 will be evaluating the changes that are to be expected from the proposed agricultural innovations. In particular, the SP 7 team will be quantifying the costs and benefits of improved wastewater irrigation and soil amendments (e.g. application of biochar) from the perspective of UPA farmers, expressed in terms of changes in productivity, income, expenditures, inputs and labor. Consumers' willingness to pay for safer vegetables (e.g. due to wastewater treatment options) is closely linked with farmers' benefits and will be evaluated through a study among urban food consumers in the four case study cities. The IEE team will also look at spillover effects from UPA innovations on urban markets, i.e. changes in supply and demand and resulting price effects for selected food crops, thus assessing potential consequences on the food security of UPA producers and consumers.
All research activities are carried out in close collaboration with researchers from other UFP sub-projects. These include soil scientists, geographers, anthropologists, agronomists and civil engineers.
At the RUB, the Geography Department (Prof. Dr. Bernd Marschner, Soil Productivity, SP 4, International Graduate School) and the Faculty of Engineering (Prof. Dr. Marc Wichern, Wastewater Engineering, SP 5) are also contributing to the Urban Food Plus project.
Urban Food Plus is one of six research projects funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) under its initiative "Securing the Global Food Supply" (GlobE).