Tax exemption on land for urban agriculture – Rosario, Argentina

Key Insights

  • Tax exemptions on land
  • Growing food in informal settlements
  • Institutionalising community gardens


The early 2000s economic crisis in Argentina plunged 60% of the population into poverty. Many people in Rosario sought to grow their own food to feed their families, but low-income groups (especially those in informal settlements) lacked access to land. In 2002 the city introduced an ordinance to incentivise landowners to make unused land available for urban agriculture through tax exemptions. The same ordinance also ceded unused public land for growing food. The ordinance contributed to expansion of urban agriculture in Rosario; by 2013 around 400 growers were producing food on a total of 22 hectares of land in the city.


This case study version is from the Menu of Actions (2019). Suggested citation: Halliday, J., Platenkamp, L., Nicolarea, Y. (2019) A menu of actions to shape urban food systems for improved nutrition, GAIN, MUFPP and RUAF.

Growing food in the city, Shutterstock/AYA images

The action and its aims

Rosario introduced a city ordinance (No. 4713/02) that exempts landowners from paying tax on unused land for two years if they allow it to be used for urban agriculture. The ordinance also ceded unused public land in the city for urban agriculture. The aim was to make more land available for residents in informal settlements to grow their own food, to improve household food security and incomes.

When it was introduced

The ordinance was introduced in 2002.

Why it was needed

It was necessary because, since Argentina’s economic crisis in 2001 plunged 60% of Rosario’s population into poverty, food growing became a popular way for residents to feed their families. Many low-income groups lacked access to land, making it necessary to incentivise landowners to cede them land on a temporary basis.

Who initiated it, who is involved

The ordinance was introduced as part of the city’s policy to institutionalise organic community gardens that resulted in the Urban Agriculture Programme (PAU), run by the Department of Social Promotion in cooperation with national NGOs Pro Huerta and CEPAR. One of the first actions was to do an inventory of vacant land – both public and private – that was suitable for urban agriculture.

Impacts to date

As a result of the PAU, in 2013 there were 400 urban gardeners in Rosario, and 22 hectares were under production. Total annual production was 95 tonnes of vegetables and 5 tonnes of aromatic plants.

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