Food security in coastal cities
Coastal waters and their ecosystems are a crucial source of food and protection for seaside cities, particularly for the urban poor. But competition for marine resources and the expansion of urban areas into coastal land have resulted in environmental degradation, which in turn causes food insecurity and vulnerability to the effects of climate change. To combat this destructive cycle, government and civil society initiatives in Cape Town, Jakarta, Accra, and Mumbai are working to provide environmentally conscious and socially just solutions. Read on to learn about the restoration of fishing rights for marginalized communities, efforts to preserve mangrove forests, and more — then join the conversation below.
Click on the city names to see a perspective from each city below.
Between ecology and economy: The changing status of Cape fishing communities?
Tariq Toffa, Cape Town Community Manager
Despite advances made in natural resource management science, the degradation and the destructive competition for natural resources in most areas of the world has continued more or less unabated. South African fish and seafood stocks, too, generally show no exception. Moreover, there are increasing numbers of applicants, corporations, and communities competing for fishing rights to this shrinking resource.
Worldwide, however, various shifts in approaches to the management of natural resources have also emerged from improved understandings of the complex interdependencies between natural and socio-economic systems. In the South African context, between the focus on ecology (through the Ecosystems Approach to Fisheries, or EAF) and economy (through the fishing rights allocation system, or RBM), a vital concern not adequately included under the current system is that of socio-economic and management issues. In the past, participation in the fishing industry remained in the hands of the wealthy, in the form of an established industrialized white-owned sector, reinforcing both the government's racially discriminatory policies, as well as the links between access to capital and access to the commercial fisheries. Nevertheless, in the Western Cape, small-scale fishers and communities living on the margins operated an informal fish market, especially for 'snoek' (Thyrsites atun), for centuries an important source of livelihood, diet, and culture.
While subsistence fishers were not recognized prior to 1994 and were often arrested or fined, in 1994 the new democratic government promised "improved access to marine resources" for "impoverished coastal communities." Since 2010, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has supported the West Coast Fishing Cluster initiative with approximately R11million (US $1.1 million). Through identifying fishing cooperatives, the project seeks to put in place a comprehensive package of support measures, such as assets and capital, in order to create employment opportunities and to enhance the commercialization of small-scale fisheries in the Western Cape, particularly where such communities are heavily reliant on fishing for their livelihood. Last year, when fishing boats to the value of R1.6 million (US $160,000) were provided by the DTI to the fishing co-operatives of Ocean View and Masiphumelele in Cape Town, in order to enable those communities to generate their own capital (potentially R1.8 million, or US $180 000, annually according to the DTI), it had already funded 39 such co-operatives.
Notwithstanding initiatives such as the Fishing Cluster Project, on a broader structural level there remained the problem of the concentration of fishing rights in the hands of a few rights holders. Due to the many artisanal fishers who were still left to operate informally, a class action case was brought against the allocation system of fishing rights. This precipitated a new small-scale fisheries policy for South Africa in 2012. Due for implementation in 2014, the new policy has a strong developmental focus. Significantly, it also promotes community fishing quotas, through the creation of legal entities representing fishing communities.
The Fishing Cluster Project together with the new small-scale fisheries policy begin to address the longstanding capital and access rights challenges of fishing communities. Senior lecturer and fisheries expert at the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies, Dr. Moeniba Isaacs, makes several recommendations to further strengthen fishing 'communities'. First, the new small-scale fisheries policy should protect access to snoek for small-scale fishers only, securing fisher livelihoods and food security for poor communities. Second, it should develop local fish markets (investing in proper cold chains and improved sanitation), which local consumers should be encouraged to support. Third, strong community-based organizations need to be developed to provide agency to poor fishers.
Fig. 1: A landing site. Fig. 2: Snoek sellers operate informally from "bakkies" (pick-up trucks) without cold chain facilities.
Kota nelayan Muara Angke terancam hilang
Widya Anggraini, Jakarta Community Manager
Jakarta Utara merupakan salah satu dari lima kota di Jakarta yang keseluruhan bagiannya merupakan daerah pesisir. Secara historis Jakarta berkembang melalui wilayah ini sebab keberadaan pelabuhan utama bagi Kerajaan Tarumanegara, sebutan Jakarta dahulu kala, memungkinkan Jakarta melakukan aktivitas ekonomi dengan berbagai daerah dan berkembang seperti saat ini. Secara administratif, Jakarta memiliki enam kecamatan dengan beragam potensi perikanan laut. Salah satu daerahnya adalah Muara Angke di Kecamatan Penjaringan yang dikenal sebagai desa nelayan dan rumah bagi hutan asli mangrove. Beragam masalah kini hadir di daerah tersebut dikarenakan berkurangnya jumlah nelayan dan hasil produksi mereka karena sulitnya modal dan kekhawatiran kehilangan ladang karena proses reklamasi di Pantai Utara yang rencananya akan dijadikan permukiman. Untuk itu pemerintah saat ini telah melaksanakan sebuah program Pemberdayaan Ekonomi Masyarakat Pesisir (PEMP) dan rencana menjadikan kampung nelayan menjadi daerah wisata. Selain itu berbagai Lsm penggiat lingkungan melakukan advokasi penyelamatan hutan mangrove di Jakarta.
Muara Angke terletak di kelurahan Kapuk Muara yang terkenal dengan kampung nelayannya, palabuhan dan tempat pelelangan ikan. Menurut Dinas Peternakan, perikanan dan Kelautan Jakarta jumlah nelayan di Jakarta Utara kian tahun kian menurun terutama disebabkan kenaikan konstan bahan bakar minyak. Sehingga banyak dari mereka tidak melaut dengan alasan biaya tinggi dan merugikan nelayan. Untuk ini pemerintah telah mempersiapkan sebuah program pemberdayaan bagi masyarakat nelayan melalu PEMP yang bertujuan untuk meningkatkan kapasitas sumber daya manusia pesisir dalam mengelola potensi laut dan mendorong munculnya kelompok-kelompok pendukung pengelolaan sumberdaya laut dan pantai. Program ini menyediakan dana hibah untuk penguatan koperasi nelayan atau dikenal sebagai Dana Ekonomi Produktif untuk mengatasi kesulitan permodalan nelayan. Dana ini diberikan pada nelayan kecil dan pembudidaya ikan-ikan kecil serta koperasi perikanan. Skema kredit disediakan dengan bunga rendah dan cara yang tidak rumit. Pada awalnya, dana langsung diberikan pada koperasi nelayan, namun kini dilakukan melalui lembaga perbankan. PEMP memberikan manfaat bagi nelayan dalam permodalan dan meningkatkan produksi mereka. Untuk selanjutnya PEMP ini akan dileburkan dalam program pemerintah yang lain bernama PNPM Mandiri Kelautan dan Perikanan.
Sementara itu, selain terkenal sebagai kampung nelayan dan pasar ikan, Muara Angke juga merupakan rumah bagi hutan mangrove terakhir di Jakarta. Kawasan hutan ini memiliki suaka margasatwa, hutan lindung dan taman wisata dengan berbagai spesies binatang yang dilindungi didalamnya. Kini pemerintah berencana mereklamasi pesisir pantai utara yang rencananya akan digunakan sebagai wilayah permukiman. Jika proyek ini terus dilakukan, makan wilayah tersebut akan kehilangan hutan mangrove, spesies ikan, kerang dan binatang laut lainnya. Selain itu dikhawatirkan banjir akan selalu melanda Jakarta Utara. Yayasan lingkungan seperti Yayasan Kehati meluncurkan program 'Merajut Sabuk Pesisir Hijau Indonesia' dengan menanam mangrove di pesisir Pantai Utara dan Selatan Pulau Jawa. Saat ini telah terkumpul lebih dari 100.000 bantang mangrove untuk disebar di beberapa kawasan dan ditanam bersama mitra-mitra Kehati.
Secara keseluruhan, berbagai upaya mempertahankan upaya agar Muara Angke tetap berfungsi sebagai kampung nelayan dan mensuplai kebutuhan ikan kota-kota di wilayah Jakarta telah dilakukan melalui upaya kemudahan memperoleh akses ke modal, pelatihan bagi nelayan untuk memanfaatkan hasil laut, pembangunan sarana dan prasarana penunjang pelabuhan laut serta di saat yang sama masyarakat peduli lingkungan mendukung dengan penanaman mangrove dan upaya advokasi seperti yang dilakukan LSM Koalisi Rakyat untuk Keadilan Perikanan yang menolak upaya reklamasi Pantai Utara.
Fishing town in danger of disappearing
Widya Anggraini, Jakarta Community Manager
North Jakarta is one of the five towns in Jakarta consisting entirely of coastal areas. Historically, Jakarta started to grow because of the presence of a major port in the Tarumanegara Kingdom, a place of yore that stirred economic activity in the various regions and enabled them to flourish. Jakarta has six districts with diverse marine fisheries. One region in the Penjaringan District is Muara Angke, known as a fishing village and home to the original mangrove forest. Various problems are now present in the area — the decreasing number of fishermen and the drop in production stem from the difficulty of raising capital and the concern over losing farmland, as there are plans for the North Coast to be transformed into a residential settlement. To that end, the government has developed Pemberdayaan Ekonomi Masyarakat Pesisir (the Coastal Community Economic Empowerment program, or PEMP) and plans to transform fishing villages into tourist destinations. In addition, a variety of environmental activist groups are advocating the preservation of mangrove forests in Jakarta.
The Muara Angke area is located in the Kapuk Muara region, famous for its fishing villages, ports and fish markets. According to the Department of Livestock and Fisheries, the number of fishermen in North Jakarta is diminishing yearly due to constant increases in the price of oil. Many have abandoned the profession due to its high costs and unprofitable nature. Hence, the government has prepared the PEMP program which aims to increase the capacity of human resources to unleash the potential of coastal regions and to encourage the emergence of marine and coastal resource management and support groups. This program provides grants to strengthen fishing cooperatives, also known as the Productive Economy Fund (Dana Ekonomi Produktif), to overcome the difficulties of raising capital. These funds are given to farmers, fishermen, and small fishing cooperatives. Its credit scheme provides simple, low-interest loans. In the beginning, the funds were given directly to the fishing cooperatives, but it is now handled through banking institutions. The PEMP program benefits fishermen in raising capital and increasing their production. In the future, the program will be merged with another government program, the PNPM Mandiri Marine and Fisheries.
In addition to its fame for its fishing village and fish markets, Muara Angke is also home to the last mangrove forest in Jakarta. The forest area has wildlife reserves, nature and tourist park reserves with various species of animals protected within them. Currently, the government plans to reclaim the North Coast and transform it into a residential area. If the project continues, the region will lose its mangrove forests and several species of fish, shellfish and other marine animals. There are fears that North Jakarta will therefore always experience flooding. Environmental groups such as the Biodiversity Conservation Trust Fund launched a "Knitting the Green Indonesian Coastal Belt" program that plants mangroves in the North Coast and South Beach of Java. Currently, more than 100,000 mangrove trunks have been collected to be deployed in some areas and planted with their partners.
In sum, various efforts to enable Muara Angke to function as a fishing area and to supply the fishing needs of cities in Indonesia have been carried out through programs that increase ease of access to capital, train fishermen to profit from their marine activities, and construct seaport infrastructure and facilities. At the same time, efforts have been made by a concerned community that not only wants to preserve its environment by planting mangroves, but also encourages advocacy efforts by environmental organizations such as Koalisi Rakyat untuk Keadilan Perikanan (the People's Coalition for Fishing Justice), which refuses to allow the reclamation of the North Coast.
Food affordability in Accra, Ghana
Felix Nyamedor, Accra City Community Manager
The food security situation in Accra is a major concern to the government, civil society organisations, and development partners. Food security covers availability, accessibility, ultilisation, production, and affordability of food as classified by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). This article looks specifically at food affordability in Accra, as the price of food poses problems to more than half of the city's population.
Though Accra is a coastal city, the limited production of crops and fishing provides for only a quarter of the population, so the city depends on transported food from the outskirts of Ghana. The cost of transporting food has raised the cost of food so much that the average person in Accra finds it difficult to eat a balanced three square meals a day. Over-fishing has resulted in dwindling catches that fail to meet residents' protein needs. The large youth population causes a high dependency ratio, which increases the average household expenditure on food. Many former farmers are those who migrated to Accra, increasing the demand for food in the city while also reducing available labour for food production in the countryside. Climate change and over-dependence on rain irrigation are other significant contributors to the food production, and therefore affordability challenges.
The current depreciation of the Ghanaian Cedi compared to other major currencies has worsened the price index of imported foods. Prices of imported foods like sardines, rice, and oil have increased more than 10 percent in the beginning of 2014 alone. There is therefore the need to increase local production of food while limiting imports.
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Accra Metropolitan Assembly are working to ensure that opportunities are created for actors along the production-to-marketing chain of food production. This is done through trainings on processing techniques of perishable food items to help reduce post-harvest losses in rural areas for transportation to the cities. The livestock industry is promoted through the Livestock Development Project to avail quality and affordable meat products for consumption to meet residents' protein needs and to help promote home gardening in the metropolis to augment household needs. The government of Ghana also developed a motivation package with the Youth In Agriculture programme to motivate young people to counteract the ageing farmer population in order to facilitate sustainability in agriculture production. The average age of farmers in Ghana is 55 years old, and life expectancy averages between 55 and 60 years. The program also aims to promote urban food production through technological innovations. The challenge of this policy has been its implementation.
One organisation that is also promoting urban agriculture and the affordability of quality agriculture produce for urban residents is the Resource Centres on Urban Agriculture and Food Security, the RUAF Foundation. The RUAF Foundation provides crops and vegetable sales points called CitiVeg points all across the city for easy accessibility and affordability.
Moreover, the FAO in Ghana is helping provide technical support to promote urban agriculture and ensure the availability of quality and affordability food to meet the MDG targets on food security for Ghana.
Photo credit: GNA
Mumbai's mangroves are key to urban resiliency
Carlin Carr, Mumbai Community Manager
Mumbai has 149 kilometers of coastline — an enormous asset but also one of the city's greatest vulnerabilities. After the 2004 tsunami that caused widespread devastation across Southeast Asia, coastal cities began to reevaluate their resiliency in the face of another major storm. Areas that weathered the tsunami best were those with thriving mangroves, a natural buffer between the land and sea. Mangroves protect the "assault of the sea on land," according to the Soonabai Pirojsha Godrej Marine Ecology Centre, which supported the protection of Mumbai's mangroves. The Centre describes these vibrantly diverse ecosystems as "more dynamic than the sea itself."
However, the city's natural coastal protector has been under severe threat in recent decades. "It has been estimated that Mumbai lost about 40 percent of its mangrove between 1995 and 2005," says a recent article on the mangroves. The destruction of the rich forest and estuaries started during the British era when the mangroves were being chopped down and filled in to reclaim land. In the ever-growing Mumbai of today, the rapid deterioration of these important natural barriers has continued. The article says the mangroves are now being lost to all the major development in the city — "golf courses, amusement parks, sewage and garbage dumps, buildings, and other modern structures like the Bandra-Worli Sea-Link."
One of the cities well-known group of environmental activists, Bombay Environmental Action Group (BEAG), led the way in protecting urban mangroves. The rich forest and estuaries, which not only act as coastal barriers but also as breeding grounds for a wide variety of fish, came under the protection of the state after a Supreme Court order was passed in 2006. The order has helped preserve these vital ecosystems, and Mumbai and surrounding areas now have 5,800 hectares of mangrove land designated as protected forests and 26,000 hectares of coastal land in the state has also been identified to come under the Court's protection. The move is not only smart resiliency planning, but can also be considered good economics. "Healthy mangrove forests can be valued anywhere between $2000-9000 per hectare," says an article that argues that saving the mangroves actually saves the city coffers as well. "By preserving mangrove forests, the city of Mumbai has saved itself about $52 million every year."
Mumbai's fisherman, the Kolis — known as the native people of Mumbai — have also begun to understand the connection between the mangroves and their fishing livelihoods. In response, a group of Mumbai fisherman formed an NGO called Sree Ekvira Pratisthan to protect more than 1,000 hectares of mangroves in their area northern area of the city. The organization educates other fisherman on the importance of the mangroves and fights to stop builders trying to prey on the mangrove's untouched land — valuable pockets in a land-starved city.
As "resiliency" becomes a key term in the age of global warming and more natural destruction is waged on some of the world's biggest cities — take Hurricane Sandy in NYC, for example — nature has provided many coastal cities with an important barrier. No technology can replicate what the mangroves do. Protecting these areas is one of the most important aspects to developing climate change resiliency in India's economic capital on the sea, and appropriate priority must be given to their importance in the urban landscape.
Photo credit: Senorhorst Jahnsen