Description of policy shift
As with most cities in developing countries, Kampala previously had no specific laws relating to urban agriculture. Some ordinances made reference to agricultural activities - for example control of straying animals was part of the law and order ordinances. And processes such as city development plans made no reference to agriculture. In the absence of specific laws, the practice of urban agriculture was often clamped down on, for example by crops being cut down and animal confiscated. This had serious impacts on the livelihoods of the poor households who practised agriculture, especially women.
However, unlike other cities, Kampala now has a set of five new Urban Agriculture Ordinances, which received the consent of the Mayor in June 2005. These Ordinances provide a framework for allowing agriculture to be practised within the city boundaries, subject to compliance with regulations to control public health and reduce nuisance and environmental problems. A system of permits and licences is to be introduced, depending on whether the activity is commercial or 'artisinal'.
Accompanying this change in written policy and legislation is a marked change in attitude and behaviour towards urban agriculture as a legitimate economic activity in the city. Not only are technical officers now able to openly support and promote appropriate agricultural activities, but the politicians actively promote the activity, and the City Council work in partnership with a number of other organisations on urban agriculture related projects.
This case study will describe and analyse the process that has led to this shift in policy, and the key influences, events and behaviour changes in this process. Relevant lessons will be drawn from this analysis.