New project aims to grow edible green infrastructure in African cities

18 Jan 2023

Image: © Olena/

UCD has partnered with Mozambique’s UEM to bring green infrastructure such as community gardens and urban beekeeping to two cities.

An Irish project to bring socially inclusive, edible infrastructure to African cities has launched in Mozambique.

The project will explore the potential of edible urban green infrastructure (UGI) in two rapidly growing cities in the country.

Examples of these edible UGIs include community gardens with fast-maturing food trees, urban beekeeping, rainwater capture systems and vertical greening garden structures.

The project – called Synergi – is led by researchers at University College Dublin (UCD) and Mozambique’s Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM).

It was created to help low-income social groups and communities living in rapidly growing cities across Africa, who face challenges in food security while coping with the impacts of the climate crisis.

The project co-lead from UCD, Dr Christine Bonnin, said diverse urban agriculture can address these challenges while enabling “cultural support of resilience and change, as well as offering various ecosystem services”. Bonnin said having access to quality food is also a social inequality issue they aim to address.

“We hope to investigate not only diverse, multifunctional systems for food provisioning with environmental sustainability and climate-adaptive dimensions, but also ones that enable inclusive participation and outcomes,” Bonnin said.

The Synergi project has partnered with local civil society organisations to understand how to promote edible UGI in vulnerable urban communities and how it can be designed to better meet the needs of these groups.

Prof Ines Raimundo, the project co-lead from UEM, said Synergi will also strengthen the research environment between the two universities, as well as between Ireland and Mozambique.

“It will help enhance the overall capacity of UEM’s departments for research and academic outputs,” Raimundo said. “Furthermore, through the project, local universities, including our collaborators Lurio University, will deepen their partnership with UEM as well, which is a welcome added benefit of our collaboration.”

The project was launched today (18 January) by Irish ambassador Patrick Empey in the city of Maputo. Synergi has received funding from the Irish Research Council, in partnership with Irish Aid.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic