What are the Impacts of Urban Agriculture Programs on Food Security in Low and Middle-income Countries: a Systematic Review

Publication Details

Korth, M., Stewart, R., Langer, L., Madinga, N., Rebelo Da Silva, N., Zaranyika, H., van Rooyen, C. and de Wet, T. (2014) What are the impacts of urban agriculture programs on food security in low and middle-income countries: a systematic review. Environmental Evidence. 3(21).

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Marcel Korth, Ruth Stewart, Laurenz Langer, Nolizwe Madinga, Natalie Rebelo Da Silva, Hazel Zaranyika, Carina van Rooyen, Thea de Wet
East Asia and Pacific (includes South East Asia), South Asia, Europe and CIS, Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean
Agriculture and Rural Development, Urban Development
Agricultural Reform, Urban Development and Management
Equity Focus
None specified
Review Type
Effectiveness review

Main findings

Findings pending


One of the most pressing problems facing the developing world’s growing urban populations is urban food insecurity, a result of increasing food-price volatility and high levels of urban poverty. Urban agriculture is an intervention type which proposes to relieve this problem. The term itself encompasses a variety of intervention types related to urban farming systems, located in urban or peri-urban settings. They include interventions focusing on growing, processing and distributing a diverse range of food and non-food products, mainly within the urban area itself. It is thought to affect food security and nutrition through two main pathways: direct access and consumption of home-grown food, or through higher income from sales of home-grown food.

Research objectives

Objectives of the review as stated in the protocol: ‘This review aims to address the gap in our knowledge about UA (urban agriculture) in low and middle-income countries. It seeks to provide a solid evidence base for policy makers, practitioners and members of the international donor community on the feasibility, benefits and cost of urban food cultivation.’


The authors will include impact-evaluation studies that measure the effectiveness of urban agriculture interventions (as a livelihoods strategy) in improving food security, nutrition and income, focusing on people in urban and peri-urban contexts undertaking urban agriculture in low- and middle-income countries. The inclusion criteria require that studies use a comparison group. If there are sufficient data available, the authors will undertake a meta-analysis. 

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