Urban agriculture ordinances – Kampala, Uganda

Key Insights

  • Legalising urban agriculture
  • Ensuring land tenure
  • Supporting residents to grow food legally and safely


In 2006, five new ordinances came into force in Kampala to establish a legal framework for urban agriculture that adheres to safety and sanitation criteria. Prior to this urban agriculture was technically illegal, meaning poor residents who were growing food for their families were vulnerable to law enforcement, and lacked land tenure and support services. The ordinances were developed by a multi-sector non-profit organisation, in consultation with urban farmers and communities. As well as providing residents with a legitimate means to improve household food security, the ordinances paved the way for initiatives to make public land available for growing food 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.

Kampala city and peri-urban  surrounds (Uganda)
Kampala city and peri-urban surrounds (Uganda), Shutterstock/Dennis Wegewijs

The action and its aims

Kampala introduced five ordinances (city laws) that establish safety and sanitation requirements for urban agriculture as a legal practice contributing to food security, that ensure land tenure for practitioners through a permit system, and that set up support services. The aim was to enable residents to grow their own food legally and safely in permitted areas of the city.

When it was introduced

The ordinances were authorised in 2005 and entered into force in 2006.

Why it was needed

A legal framework was needed because urban agriculture was technically illegal in Kampala, even though many urban poor had been growing food for their families since the 1970s. Practitioners were vulnerable to enforcement of by-laws and lacked access to technology and other support services.

Who initiated it, who is involved

A multi-sector non-profit organisation, the Kampala Urban Food Security, Agriculture and Livestock Coordinating Committee (KUFSALCC), led development of the ordinances. Membership included NGOs, local government (Kampala City Council), national government (Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries), and universities and research bodies (Makerere University, National Agriculture Research Organisation, Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). Urban farmers and other community actors were encouraged to participate in developing the ordinances via workshops and consultations. International organisations supported KUFSALCC (Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the UK Department for International Development, CGIAR’s Urban Harvest programme).

Impacts to date

Impact data on food security and nutrition are not available, and many poor farmers remain unaware of the ordinances. However, local government is more accepting of urban agriculture, e.g. Kampala City Council leases land for its Edible Landscape Projects to show the value of including urban agriculture in city planning.

More information: Similar to Kampala’s ordinances is the 2015 Nairobi Urban Agriculture Promotion and Regulation Act (Kenya), which provides a regulatory framework to enable and encourage an increase in agricultural production throughout the city, using safe and sanitary methods, and, as a result, food security.

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