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Vol. 3 No. 2; February 2013( abstract 4)

Adaptation of Excavation Pits for Sustainable Urban Farming and Eco-Supportive Infrastructure in Kaduna State, Nigeria
R.O.Yusuf, J.A.Ukoje; B.H, Abdulraheem

Abstract
Urban farming comprises cultivation of staple food crops during the rainy season and dry season production of vegetable. The latter is heavily-depended on sustainable access to irrigation water which is a constraining factor for many intended urban vegetable cultivators. Utilization of water from excavation pits for irrigation activities provides eco-supportive infrastructural base for urban farmers in Zaria which is the focus of this paper. The objectives of the paper were to examine the contribution of the farming activities to income and food security of the farmers and analyse the eco-supportive component of the use of excavation pits. Data were obtained from 10 farmers between December, 2011 and May, 2012 through structured interview and observation. Findings of the study reveal that crops cultivated were tomato, pepper, onions, sweet and Irish potatoes, cabbage, green peas and sugarcane from which the farmers derive food and income. Though the income to farmers vary based on production factors like acreage, types of crops, and use of input, the farmers obtained higher incomes from the farm compared to their primary occupations. The utilization of excavation pits for farming is eco-supportive by regulating the water balance of the microenvironment, the green area serves as carbon sink particularly during the dry season, and it is a low-cost water extraction process compared to sinking boreholes for the same purposes. The constraints observable are related to insecure land tenure, disturbance from straying domestic animals and theft of farm produce. Recommendations include regulation of water extraction to ensure sustainability and deliberate concentration of excavation pits such that larger and deeper pool of water can be available for farming activities.

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