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The Links between Health, Agriculture, and Sustainability of Urban-Rural Environment System in Indian Megacities

Today, India has 377 million urban population (21% of Asia) who all expect high income, employment, and improved services and access to the cities. The country has 53 cities with more than a million population. The underlined issue in India’s urban area was land use and land cover change where the area for agriculture keeps decreasing over the years. Conversely, the population and built-up area are growing. It results in some concerns such as the growth of vehicle ownership, emission of SO2, NO2, and Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM), also the rising phenomenon of smog and urban heat island. These concerns have been proven to affect human health where the mortality rate due to chronic respiratory illness (e.g. pneumonia, influenza, asthma, and bronchitis) was increased since 2002.

Swot Analysis of Urban Agriculture

India is known for its diverse agricultural crop products across varied environment. In recent years, there was a change in the cropping pattern, particularly the decline in food grains production caused by industrial demand for other products and climate factors. Therefore, urban food production is expected to mitigate the challenge. To implement the practice sustainably, a tailor-made approach that considers local geography and knowledge, environment stewardship, and scientific technology. There is a reinforcing loop between resilient agriculture practice, food, and nutrition security, health and well-being, social inclusion and equity, also investment in both environmental and socio-economic capitals. The focus on urban food production with community inclusion is highlighted through four Es: Enable, Engage, Exemplify, and Encourage.

 

Urban agriculture can involve animal husbandry, aquaculture, agroforestry, urban beekeeping, horticulture, and floriculture. These activities can be as well conducted in the peri-urban area, with women having a vital role as homemaker and cultivator. Nevertheless, there are different strength, weakness, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) which should be identified for specific urban or peri-urban area. The analysis will include water conservation for urban agriculture purpose. Wastewater reuse using the nanotechnology application is one way to provide the agricultural water demand. There is also a need to invest and improve resource productivity, for example, by applying cleaner processing and using more materials from recycling industry. By considering and utilizing these mentioned approaches, it is expected that enhanced urban agriculture can reduce the urban risk and improve livelihoods.

 

Source: Presentation of Prof RB Singh (University of Delhi) during The 6th International Conference of Jabodetabek Study Forum “Urban-Rural and Upland-Coastal Connectivities in Managing Sustainable Urbanizing World” IPB International Convention Center, 29 August 2018

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