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Strategic Sustainable Solutions for Urbanization in Tigray Cities

MekelleŠć° 17 June 2024 (Tigray Herald)

By Yerga Yaecobe

Strategic Sustainable Solutions for Urbanization in Tigray Cities
Introduction
The rapid urbanization of Tigray cities, especially around Mekele’s surrounding area including Enedereta District, presents both opportunities and challenges. This urban expansion has significant implications for local farmers, who face the risk of losing their land and livelihoods. A strategic sustainable solution is required to balance urban growth with agricultural preservation, ensuring that farmers benefit directly from urban investments and secure their future.

1. Integrated Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture
Objective:
Incorporate urban and peri-urban agriculture into city planning to provide continuous livelihood opportunities for farmers and support sustainable food systems.

Strategies:

Land Use Planning: Designate specific zones for urban and peri-urban agriculture within city master plans. These zones should be protected from future urban encroachment.
Vertical Farming and Greenhouses: Promote vertical farming and greenhouse initiatives within urban areas to maximize land use efficiency.
Community Gardens: Develop community gardens and cooperative farming initiatives in urban neighborhoods to engage urban residents and displaced farmers.
Benefits:

Enhances food security within urban areas.
Provides employment opportunities for displaced farmers.
Integrates agriculture into the urban economy.
2. Land Ownership and Compensation Policies
Objective:
Ensure fair compensation and secure land rights for farmers affected by urban expansion.

Strategies:

Transparent Land Acquisition Processes: Implement clear and transparent processes for land acquisition, ensuring that farmers are adequately informed and consulted.
Fair Compensation: Develop fair compensation frameworks that provide financial remuneration and alternative land options for displaced farmers.
Land Trusts and Cooperatives: Establish land trusts and cooperatives where farmers retain collective ownership of their land and can lease it for urban development projects.
Benefits:

Protects farmers’ rights and livelihoods.
Reduces the risk of land grabbing and disputes.
Ensures that farmers benefit financially from urban expansion.
3. Direct Investment Benefits for Farmers
Objective:
Ensure that farmers are direct beneficiaries of urban expansion projects and new investments in Tigray cities.

Strategies:

Equity Participation: Allow farmers to hold equity stakes in urban development projects, providing them with a share of the profits.
Revenue-Sharing Models: Develop revenue-sharing models where a percentage of the income from new urban investments is distributed to affected farmers.
Infrastructure Development: Invest in infrastructure improvements (e.g., irrigation systems, roads) in peri-urban agricultural areas to enhance productivity and market access.
Benefits:

Provides ongoing income for farmers from urban projects.
Encourages farmers’ participation and support for urban expansion.
Improves agricultural productivity and sustainability.
4. Secure Accommodation and Housing Guarantees
Objective:
Ensure secure housing for farmers displaced by urban expansion.

Strategies:

Resettlement Programs: Develop comprehensive resettlement programs that provide new housing and land for displaced farmers within urban or peri-urban areas.
Affordable Housing Initiatives: Build affordable housing units for displaced farmers, ensuring access to essential services and amenities.
Housing Cooperatives: Establish housing cooperatives that allow farmers to collectively own and manage residential properties.
Benefits:

Provides stable and secure living conditions for displaced farmers.
Facilitates social integration within urban communities.
Reduces the risk of homelessness and poverty among displaced populations.
5. Policy and Institutional Frameworks
Objective:
Strengthen policy and institutional frameworks to support sustainable urban expansion and protect farmers’ interests.

Strategies:

Urban Agriculture Policies: Develop and implement policies that promote and regulate urban agriculture, ensuring its integration into city planning.
Land Use Regulations: Enforce land use regulations that protect agricultural land from unchecked urban sprawl.
Institutional Support: Establish dedicated institutions or agencies to oversee urban agriculture and support farmers’ transition during urban expansion.
Benefits:

Provides a regulatory framework for sustainable urban growth.
Protects agricultural land and farmers’ rights.
Enhances coordination between urban planners and agricultural stakeholders.
Conclusion
The sustainable urbanization of Tigray cities, including Mekele and surrounding areas like Enedereta District, requires a multifaceted approach that integrates urban and peri-urban agriculture, ensures fair compensation and land rights for farmers, and guarantees secure accommodation. By adopting these strategic solutions, Tigray can achieve balanced urban growth that benefits both urban residents and the agricultural community, fostering a resilient and inclusive development trajectory.

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