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Uganda: Unplanned urban sprawl threatens food security


According to Uganda’s ministry of lands, housing and urban development, “unplanned urban sprawl is a threat to food security”.

About 20% of Uganda’s estimated 37 million people are living in urban areas.

Samuel Mabala, the director for housing in the ministry, said the unplanned urban sprawl is eating into agricultural land, and the country could plunge into a food crisis in future if no action is taken.

“Uganda is urbanising rapidly and if this urbanisation is not planned, land for agriculture will soon be occupied by settlers. If we don’t plan for our urbanisation, it means we will have uneven development.” he stated.

Mabala was speaking at the launch of a report authored by science academies of Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia at Hotel Africana in Kampala on Monday. Dubbed the consensus study, it is titled: Owning our urban future: Enabling healthy cities in Eastern Africa.

“The urban sprawl is extending in an uncontrolled pattern. That’s typical of poor planning. Unplanned urbanization results into traffic congestion, crime and other problems. There are places which are no go areas in Kampala now because of crime,” he added.

However, planned urbanisation, according to the housing director, enable the cities perform their cardinal roles in driving economic development.

“Over half of the global population is living in the cities today, and cities generate 70% of the global GDP. They also consume 60% of global energy and contribute 70% of greenhouse gas emissions. If we manage our cities well, we win, if we don’t, we lose the battle,” Mabala noted.

About 20% of Uganda’s estimated 37 million people are living in urban areas. The country is said to be urbanising at 5.2% annually.

The National Physical Planning Act, 2010 declared the whole country a planning area. Mabala explained that the national physical development plan, which is being developed, will provide detailed information and guide urbanization and land utilization