The value of food to man’s survival and healthy living engendered a series of agricultural development strategies aimed at ensuring a sustainable household food supply system and food security. Agriculture being the major source of development for any striving Nation must continue to soar and develop in all ramifications and in all area. Agricultural development can be defined as the process that creates the conditions for the fulfillment of agricultural potential. Those conditions include the accumulation of knowledge and availability of technology as well as the allocation of inputs and output.
Rural-based agriculture remains the main source of food supply system for household consumption in Nigeria and many Africa countries; urban residents in the nation have undergone exploration of the urban environment for farm enterprise and food production for home consumption and many times income generation. As established in several books on urban agriculture, the practice is now very common among the low income earners and mid-income earners, particularly in the developing countries, it is a global phenomenon with varying trends of production systems.
In the developed countries, rural agriculture still contribute significantly to the development and forward movement of Agriculture even controlled urban agriculture system, which takes the form of zero-waste – vertical farming, hydroponic, Aeroponics, and aquaponics; is widely practiced. In addition to this is the practice of uncontrolled urban agriculture system, which takes the form of open space agriculture like community gardens, vegetable gardens, container farming and backyard gardening; in both the developed and developing countries.
In the Nigerian context, some individuals though experiment with vertical farming; the general trend of production is open space or soil/land-based farming system for crop and animal production. In view of this, urban farming system in the country largely takes the form of home gardening and surrounding/environment farming. The production system under these farming systems takes the form of lowland farming, solely crop or livestock production, and crop-livestock integration. The crop production systems are however rain-fed with the use of hoes and cutlasses as main farming tools. Although most of the Nigerian urban agriculture practitioners largely produced for home consumption, a few of them do so for income generation through marketing of harvested or surplus farm produce.
One of the direct impact of urban farming on the Nigerian households include guaranteed food supply or food supplementation, employment and income generation, environmental hygiene and social relation build-up. By means of the generated income from urban farming, indirect impacts of the practice include livelihood asset acquisition and other essential household needs. This notwithstanding, the urban agriculture practice is challenged by factors such as competitive demand for land, hindered by little or no urban agriculture development policy or none inclusion in urban development plans, and stealing of farm produce using different techniques, loss of farm animals to nature, cost of production and health management of the animals.
Agricultural development would only be feasible if the urban area for food production cover up the lagging initiative of the rural farmers and at the same time develop various non-governmental initiative that would combat the lacks of the rural farmers. Urban and rural agriculture have one vision with different missions and objectives, this vision is that, food must be produced sufficiently, once all farmers can understand this, sufficient food production aim might not be met adequately but food production would serve it aim at all times the stomach of consumers . The strategy to better agricultural development is the acquisition of better knowledge and understanding of food production with their respective recognition of their roles and responsibilities in food production and security over time.
To mitigate the effects of the production challenges, the farming households (the rural and urban) have intuitively developed innovative actions for sustenance of urban farming and enhanced productivity. The actions include availability of rural farmers during extension agent visits, intensive cultivation of available space, Constant sourcing for farm input, sourcing for lands outside their immediate environs, Management and acquisition of modern technology innovation, adoption of manual irrigation system and mulching practices, provision of security for protection of cultivated crops and raised animals, and collection of dried by-product for dry season feeding of the farm animals, organic method of farm animals management.
In view of this, rural farming in Nigeria has greatly improved with time such that it sustainability has been well proven with sustainable agricultural backup’s, this days a lot of urban dwellers acquire mandate of lands in rural areas for food production. However, it is important that passionate extension agent are raised to help rural farmers acquire the right knowledge thereby improving their productive skills to produce sufficient food with time.
Urban farming in Nigeria has also withstood the test of time such that it has become sustained, and even becoming pervasive among the urban dwellers. It is however recommended that a favourable urban agriculture policy should be included in the urban development policy and a plain structured architectural plans for enhancement of urban agriculture practice in Nigeria.