Mapping the consumer foodshed of the Kampala city region shows the importance of urban agriculture

NPJ Urban Sustain. 2023;3(1):11. doi: 10.1038/s42949-023-00093-1. Epub 2023 Mar 2.


Due to rapid urbanisation, food systems in sub-Saharan African cities are increasingly under pressure. Through the lens of a foodshed, this paper quantitatively analyses the spatial extent of the food provisioning area for consumers of different socio-economic status in Kampala (Uganda). Based on a primary dataset of surveys with households and food vendors, we map the foodshed by registering where consumers obtain their food, and the origin of where it is grown. We show that 50% of the food consumed in the city originates from within a 120 km proximity to Kampala, including 10% from within the city itself. At present, urban agricultural activities are twice as important as international imports for the urban food provision. Established, high-income urban dwellers have a more local foodshed due to their broad participation in urban agriculture, while low-income newcomers rely heavily on retailers who source food from rural Uganda.

Keywords: Development studies; Geography; Sustainability.