Sustainability of Peri-urban Vegetable Production under Urban ...

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Although peri-urban vegetable production is increasingly recognized for its capacity to strengthen the resilience of the urban food system, urban expansion in most Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries seems to pose a threat for its continuity. Thus, this article reviews the existing literature on the relationships between urbanisation and sustainability of peri-urban vegetable farms in SSA. To contribute to the understanding on how peri-urban vegetable farming can be sustained in a context of rapid urbanization in SSA, the article emphasizes the need to analyze peri-urban areas by their characteristics and argues for a conceptualization of agricultural sustainability that encompasses economic, ecological, social and land tenure dimensions. As a result, given the growing market demands, peri-urban vegetable production has ample opportunities to be sustainable and even grow; but in a context of unplanned urban expansion in poor Sub-Saharan African countries, this optimistic view should not be exaggerated. The article ends by underscoring some useful insights on policies to be taken at farm, regional, and national levels to preserve and integrate peri-urban vegetable production in the urban development process and related intervention programmes.