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Africa’s Urban Garden

January 21, 2009

Urban agriculture in Mwanza, Tanzania

Book cover image: Food, Culture, and Survival in an African City by Karen Coen Flynn, 2005

Urban agriculture in Mwanza, Tanzania
Published in Africa,  Fall, 2001  by Karen Coen Flynn

Karen Flynn is on the faculty of the Department of Classical Studies, Anthropology and Archaeology at the University of Akron, Ohio. She received her doctorate in anthropology from Harvard in 1997 for a thesis on ‘Food Provisioning in Urban Mwanza’.


Many people living in Mwanza, Tanzania, provision themselves through urban agriculture – the planting of crops and raising of animals in urban and peri-urban areas, as well as in the countryside. This article compares Mwanza’s urban farmers with those in Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Ghana. Like Zimbabwe’s urban agriculturalists, more and more of Mwanza’s are not among the poorest of the poor. Much like Ghana’s urban farmers, those in Mwanza are often middle and upper-class males with access to scarce land and inputs. Urban cultivators in Mwanza differ from those in Kenya and Zambia with regard to gender, socio-economic class and the factors motivating their farming activities.

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