The policy process behind the adaptation of Urban Agriculture policy in Cape Town and Johannesburg : Academic activists and NGO´s as policy actors

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för samhällsstudier (SS)

Abstract: South Africa, also known as the ´Rainbow nation´, is one of the wealthiest countries on the African continent counted in terms of GDP. After the 1994 election, it became a functioning democracy with universal suffrage. At the same time the country is still struggling with the legacy of Apartheid in terms of poverty, inequality and food insecurity amongst other things. Access to food and water are rights enshrined within the South African Bill of Rights within the South African Constitution (Section 27 1 (b)). However, around 14 million or 34 percent of South Africans are thought to be food insecure (De Klerk et al:2004). To improve livelihoods and fight poverty, planning and intervention is needed, and urban agriculture has shown to have many positive impacts such as food security and improved nutrition intake and policy can play a vital role (Dubbeling et al 2010:6). There have been many initiatives to meet the challenges faced in South Africa, and this thesis has looked at one – the promotion of urban agriculture. Urban Agriculture can be defined as “the growing of food and plants and the raising of animals for food and other uses within and around cities and towns and related activities...” (van Veenhuizen 2006:2). This study has explored in depth the policy process behind the adaptation of Urban Agriculture policy in Cape Town and Johannesburg, which were adopted in 2007 and 2014.  The purpose of this exploration was to understand the policy process and the role of activist academics and civil society in shaping a progressive policy agenda. This study has therefore applied a Policy Advocacy Coalition Framework to the policy process behind the adaptation of urban agriculture policy in Cape Town and Johannesburg.  The approach uses a qualitative approach through text analysis to understand these policies and the process behind the adaptation, supplemented by correspondence with some of the key actors identified.  Through the lens of Sabatier’s Policy Advocacy Coalition Framework, this study shows how NGOs and academic actors has played an important role in the policy formulation of an urban agriculture policy in Cape Town and Johannesburg. In terms of implementation, the role of these non-state actors has had a clear impact on the process in Cape Town, but there is yet limited evidence in the case of Johannesburg since the policy is only just being implemented. 

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