Sibylle Gerstl: The economic costs and impact of home gardening in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

PhD-thesis, University of Basel, Faculty of Science (2001)

In the urban context of the developing countries an increasing sector of the informal economy is urban agriculture, especially home gardening. On the one hand, this practice contributes to the nutritional self-reliance of the city and generates income for the less privileged segments of the population. On the other hand, it provides health risks and some socio-economic difficulties. The aim of this study is to evaluate the economic costs and impact of home gardening as well as to identify the link between economic and health impacts based on wastewater use. Three sites in Ouagadougou are taken as examples. Results show that home gardeners’ income varies seasonally and spatially, according to external factors linked to each site. More home gardeners’ households have a lower socio-economic status, limited education and are more vulnerable than non-gardeners’ households. Health problems affect both home gardeners and non-home gardeners in the same way; thus a correlation between health status and socio-economic status hasn’t been found. The study highlights that home gardeners are not a homogeneous group: they have different economic situations that depend on external factors. These external variables are locally determined and are linked to the quantity of water and to the seasonality of income, expenditures and trade possibilities. In order to strengthen home gardening these variables should be examined. Finally some interventions are recommended on the micro level (for ex. the establishment of home gardeners banks) and the macro level (the improvement of the acceptance of home gardening in the city).