Exploring the Potential of Green Jobs through Urban Agriculture Enterprises in India

Maitreyi Koduganti Venkata, Swarnika Sharma, Prathijna Poonacha, Parama Roy | 2023 


Every decade, millions of new residents move into the ever-growing cities of India in search of a better livelihood. From a mere 13% urban dwellers in 1900, today the world is more urban than rural and by 2050, the global urban population is expected to be 6.3 billion (70% of total population.) On one hand cities are key sites of innovation and development, rapid urbanisation has also triggered urban sprawl, urban poverty and inequality, relatively high unemployment rates, higher and often exclusionary living costs, and environmental degradation. On the other hand, cities are also identified as critical sites of action to meet climate change and sustainability goals. Several researchers have identified nature-based
solutions, more specifically urban agriculture (UA), as one of the key strategies to generate income and green jobs. However, scholarly literature regarding the implications of UA on livelihoods remains thin. A few available studies also iterate that the lack of policy and institutional support limits UA’s contribution to generating green jobs. Despite this limitation, numerous business models, enterprises, collectives, and individuals are emerging in cities.

In this study, we attempted to examine the potential of such UA enterprises to generate green jobs and better livelihood opportunities in Indian cities. Using these findings, we aimed to unpack how current policies around livelihood generation can support UAbased interventions to foster a green livelihood strategy. We employed a qualitative approach to map and survey key UA businesses and enterprises in Pune and Bengaluru. We conducted an online survey (that garnered 441 responses) to understand how people perceived UA as an income generating opportunity. A secondary literature review and online research was followed by in-depth interviews with selected enterprises. Parallelly, we conducted a detailed review of current policies, to identify barriers and enablers for incorporating UA based green livelihood strategies in urban policies.