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GlobE-Urban Food Plus - African-German partnership to enhance resource use efficiency in urban and peri-urban agriculture for improved food security in West African cities.


African food security not only depends on productivity increases in marginal rural areas, but also on a more efficient use of niche environments such as urban and peri-urban zones. The transdisciplinary Urban Food Plus (UFP) network of German, African and international scientists, private sector representatives, and stakeholders aims at developing site-specific, farmer-tailored innovations for improved agricultural production, food safety, and value chains in four West African cities. Initially, research will be conducted in the cities of Tamale (Ghana) and Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso). An extension of UFP to Bamako (Mali) and Bamenda (Cameroun) is planned.

Within UFP, the IEE is implementing sub-project (SP) 7 (Economics). This sub-project aims at assessing the economic impacts of innovations for improving soil fertility and irrigation in urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA), as proposed and test-implemented within the collaborative, transdisciplinary research framework of Urban Food Plus. More specifically, the sub-project will look at the welfare implications of introducing biochar as a soil amendment and safer irrigation options from the perspective of urban producers and consumers.


Applying theoretical concepts and empirical methods rooted in Welfare and Environmental Economics, SP 7 will be evaluating the changes that are to be expected from the proposed agricultural innovations.

In particular, the SP 7 team will be quantifying the costs and benefits of improved wastewater irrigation and soil amendments (e.g. application of biochar) from the perspective of UPA farmers, expressed in terms of changes in productivity, income, expenditures, inputs and labor.

Consumers' willingness to pay for safer vegetables (e.g. due to wastewater treatment options) is closely linked with farmers' benefits and will be evaluated through a study among urban food consumers in the four case study cities.

The IEE team will also look at spillover effects from UPA innovations on urban markets, i.e. changes in supply and demand and resulting price effects for selected food crops, thus assessing potential consequences on the food security of UPA producers and consumers.

All research activities are carried out in close collaboration with researchers from other UFP sub-projects. These include soil scientists, geographers, anthropologists, agronomists, and civil engineers.


Urban Food Plus is one of six research projects funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) under its initiative "Securing the Global Food Supply" (GlobE).
  • Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Löwenstein (Principal Investigator*)
  • Dr. Christina Seeger (Former Coordinator PhD IDS)
  • Dr. Marc Hansen (Former Research Fellow)
  • Dr. Lesley Hope (Former PhD Candidate)
  • Prof. Dr. Martina Shakya (Former Coordinator)
  • Dr. Tobias Thürer (Former Coordinator)
  • Nicole Dittrich (Former PhD Candidate)
*Contact person (Wilhelm.Loewenstein@rub.de)

The project had a duration of 6 years. It started in 2013 and ended in 2018.


Seeger, C. (2022): Trust and Consumer’s Willingness to Pay for Safe and Certified Safe Vegetables in West African Cities: A Comparative Analysis of Tamale, Ouagadougou, Bamenda and Bamako. Logos Verlag: Berlin.

Hansen, M. (2020): Essays on the Theory-based Impact Evaluation of Projects in Developing Countries.

Hope, L. (2019): Amending Biochar to Urban Farmlands: An Economic Evaluation of the Effects on Food Security in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) and in Tamale (Ghana). https://hss-opus.ub.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/opus4/frontdoor/index/index/docId/6776

Bellwood-Howard, I.; Shakya, M.; Korbéogo, G.; Schlesinger, J. (2018): The Role of Backyard Farms in Two West African Urban Landscapes. Landscape and Urban Planning, Vol. 170, 34-47.

Bellwood-Howard, I.; Kranjac-Berisavljevic, G.; Nchanji, E.; Shakya, M.; van Veenhuizen, R. (2018): Participatory Planning for Food Production at the City Scale: Experiences from a Stakeholder Dialogue Process in Tamale, Northern Ghana. In: Cabanne, Y.; Marocchino, C. (Eds.): Integrating Food into Urban Planning. Rome/ London: FAO/Bartlett Development Planning Unit.

Bertrand Njoh, D.; Feldt, T.; Seeger, C.; Dittrich, N.; Karg, K.; Gawum, E.; Witte, A.; van Veenhuizen, R. (2018): Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture in Bamenda: A Policy Narrative. Bamenda, Cameroon.

Shakya, M.; Steiner, C.; Häring, V.; Hansen, M.; Löwenstein, W. (2016): Biokohle und Ernährungssicherung in westafrikanischen Städten. Ökologische, ökonomische und soziale Perspektiven. In: Engler, S.; Stengel, O.; Bommert, W. (Hg.): Regional, innovativ und gesund. Nachhaltige Ernährung als Teil der Großen Transformation. Göttingen/Bristol: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 203-220.

Bellwood-Howard, I.; Häring, V.; Karg, H..; Rössler, R.; Schlesinger, J.; Shakya, M. (2015): Characteristics of urban and peri-urban agriculture in West Africa: results of an exploratory survey conducted in Tamale (Ghana) and Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso). Colombo, Sri Lanka: International Water Management Institute (IWMI Working Paper 163).


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