Cities Farming for the Future programme (CFF)

Cities Farming for the Future (CFF), a major 4-year programme, enhanced the capacities of staff of local government, NGOs and universities and of leaders of urban producer groups; it facilitated multi-stakeholder diagnosis, policy formulation, and action planning and implementation on intra- and periurban agriculture in 20 major cities in 17 countries. The CFF programme was coordinated by the RUAF Foundation and implemented by 7 RUAF network partners in cooperation with local government, NGOs and universities.

Duration: 4 years

Funding: Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (the Netherlands) and International Development Research Centre (IDRC, Canada) and programme partners.

Programme partners:

The International secretariat of the RUAF Foundation had the overall coordination while the following RUAF partners coordinated the CFF activities in countries in their region:

  • IPES - Promoción del Desarrollo Sostenible, Peru: Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Brazil
  • IWMI - International Water Management Institute; a. India office: India and Sri Lanka; b. Ghana office: Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone
  • IAGU - Institut Africain de Gestion Urbaine, Senegal: Senegal, Benin, Mali, Burkina Faso
  • MDP-ESA - Municipal Development Partnership in East and Southern Africa, Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe, South Africa and Zambia
  • AUB-ESDU - Environment and Sustainable Development Unit of the American University of Beirut,Lebanon: Yemen, Jordan
  • IGSNRR - Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, China: China

In each of the 20 cities the regional RUAF partner cooperated with local government departments, NGOs, farmer groups, universities and other stakeholders.
Activities implemented:

  • Design of a set of training materials (5 languages) and training of trainers (206 staff of local training institutes were trained, [more than 40 % female])
  • Training of midlevel staff of local governments, NGOs, universities and research institutes and other stakeholders (1120 in total, 45 % female) on such topics as : presence and forms of urban agriculture; benefits and risks of urban and periurban agriculture, and how to enhance the benefits whilst mitigating associated risks; the multi-stakeholder diagnosis and planning approach; key policy issues in urban and periurban agriculture; experiences gained in other cities with various policy measures and programmes on urban and periurban agriculture 
  • Establishment of a multi-stakeholder forum on urban agriculture in each of the 20 cities  participating in the programme, integrating local government departments, NGOs, universities/research institutes, farmer organisations, and other stakeholders in urban and periurban agriculture
  • Assistance to the multi-stakeholder forum and its operational units in making a diagnosis of the agriculture and food situation in the city and in developing a City Strategic Agenda for Action on Urban Agriculture
  • Assistance to local government departments and the multi-stakeholder forum in the revision of existing policies, bylaws, norms and regulations influencing (intra- and peri-) urban agriculture. Inclusion of urban agriculture in the municipal budget
  • Guidance in the design, implementation and monitoring of 53 small projects by consortia of local farmer groups, one or more NGOs, one or more municipal departments; this generated over EUR 500,000 in local contributions
  • Monitoring of the results obtained and systematisation and dissemination of lessons learned
  • Production of policy briefs on the development of urban and periurban agriculture
  • Production of tailor-made information and dissemination to the various types of local stakeholders involved in urban agriculture (municipal authorities, senior and field-level staff of local government departments, NGOs and urban producer organisations, researchers and others) through the RUAF website, Urban Agriculture Magazine (5 languages), and publication of the book Cities, Poverty and Food; Multi-stakeholder Policy and Planning in Urban Agriculture (Practical Action Publishing).

Results obtained:

  • Enhanced training capacity on urban agriculture in 20 countries; at least 20 universities and training institutes integrated UPA in their curriculum; a distance learning course on urban and periurban agriculture was developed in cooperation with Ryerson University (Canada) and was well received
  • Multi-stakeholder forums (MSF) on Urban Agriculture  are functioning in in 19 major cities, involving a total of 272 organisations
  • The MSF-partners are implementing the jointly developed City Strategic Agenda on Urban Agriculture. Eighteen of these plans have been formally approved by the city council or a city council committee and have been included in institutional budgets.
  • The City Strategic Plans on UPA drastically improved the legal status of urban producers and the security of their land use; better service provision to urban farmers (training and extension, veterinary services; improved access of urban producer groups to local sources of financing and credit)
  • The small projects benefited a total of more than 3,900 urban low-income households (about 13,000 beneficiaries), with an increase in income of 10–20 % and better access to fresh and nutritious food, leading to better nutritional status of family members. These were among the main impacts due to better organisation of the urban producers, stronger linkages with support organisations, improved access to (safe) irrigation water (enabling safer and year-round production), improved production technologies (often organic), diversification of production and improved marketing.
  • Although this was not a specific objective of the RUAF-CFF programme, the programme also yielded important results at the national level: in 13 countries, facilitated by RUAF-CFF, initiatives have been taken to integrate urban agriculture into existing policies (agriculture, poverty alleviation) or to formulate a special policy or national programme on urban agriculture.
  • Wide dissemination of the “Lessons learned” to policymakers, urban planners, researchers and development practitioners in a large number of countries, including the production of: 2 policy briefs, 9 books, 10 staff training modules, 22 thematic guidelines, 2 distance learning courses (14 modules each), 27 study reports, 13 proceedings of regional workshops, 7 issues of the Urban Agriculture Magazine (5 languages, over 6,000 subscribers), 3 videos, 9 DVDs / CD-ROMs; during each year of the project period, the RUAF website had over 500,000 unique visitors downloading 140,000 documents.