ArticlePDF Available

Urban and peri-Urban Agricultural Migration: An Overview from Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), India


Abstract and Figures

Urban and peri-urban agriculture provide income generation to urban poor and making the cities more sustainable. In Mumbai Metropolitan Region, UPA activities play a major role in supporting people's life. A wide range of agricultural production systems with maximum utilization of resources can be seen in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). Migration is an acute issue in MMR and UPA production plays a vital role in supporting migrant people and reducing urban poverty. Marketing of agricultural commodities is very easier inside the MMR with a well connected network of wholesalers, retailers and street venders. With the help of a baseline survey as well secondary data, this paper tries to reveal an overview of UPA production in association with migration. Migration patterns among various UPA production systems were identified and studied. Like all other informal sectors, the role of UPA in supporting migrant people in MMR should be studied in detail to find out its contribution to employment and economic growth.
Content may be subject to copyright.
DOI Number : 10.5958/2321-5771.2014.00009.X
Urban and peri-Urban Agricultural
Migration: An Overview from Mumbai
Metropolitan Region (MMR), India
Prem Jose Vazhacharickal
Department of Biotechnology, Mar Augusthinose College,
Ramapuram-686576, Kerala, India.
Corresponding author:
Urban and peri-urban agriculture provide income generation to urban poor
and making the cities more sustainable. In Mumbai Metropolitan Region, UPA
activities play a major role in supporting people’s life. A wide range of agricultural
production systems with maximum utilization of resources can be seen in Mumbai
Metropolitan Region (MMR). Migration is an acute issue in MMR and UPA
production plays a vital role in supporting migrant people and reducing urban
poverty. Marketing of agricultural commodities is very easier inside the MMR
with a well connected network of wholesalers, retailers and street venders. With
the help of a baseline survey as well secondary data, this paper tries to reveal an
overview of UPA production in association with migration. Migration patterns
among various UPA production systems were identied and studied. Like all other
informal sectors, the role of UPA in supporting migrant people in MMR should be
studied in detail to nd out its contribution to employment and economic growth.
Keywords: Urban and peri-urban agriculture; Mumbai Metropolitan Region;
Migration; Baseline survey
Urbanization and economic developments contribute increase in consumption and
waste generation (UNEP, 2006). The sustainability of the environment is often
challenged by the rapid growth of urban population and changes in land use pattern
(Harris, 1996; Acharya, 2004). Urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) can be
broadly dened as the production, processing and distribution of foodstuff from
crop and animal production, sh, ornamentals and owers within and around
urban areas (Mougeot, 2000). The contribution of urban and peri-urban agriculture
(UPA) towards livelihood strategies, waste recycling, better space utilization,
employment, income generation and food security of the urban poor especially
in developing countries has often been stressed (Ezedinma and Chukuezi, 1999;
Ruel et al., 1999; Shiere and Van der Hoek, 2001; Obuobie et al., 2006; Hill
International Journal of Social Science : 3(3): 347-365, Sept. 2014
et al., 2007; Sinha, 2009). These production systems inside and periphery of the
city reduces the inow of products, reduces the transportation, storage costs and
serve fresh products to urban people (Jansen, 1992; Midmore and Jansen, 2003;
Figure 1).
Population explosion and migration of people towards urban area demands more
pressure on food, shelter, water and basic necessities (Cohen, 2006). Migration
from rural area to urban area is a common phenomenon in developing countries,
where people seek for better employment, education, services and nancial gain.
Transformations in villages, alternative jobs in construction and various industries,
poor of productivity of agricultural labors, seeking better job opportunities and
climate change are some key factors triggering the decline of farming activities
in rural and peri-urban areas in developing countries (Sharma and Bhaduri, 2006;
Martin, 2010). The economic developments of a developing country is often
characterized by reduction in agricultural labor force and thus lower contribution
of agriculture to the GDP of the nation. Finding agricultural labors is difcult in
villages of India, but available readily and cheap in Metropolitan regions. In the
year 2008, it was estimated that agricultural sector employed 1.4 billion of the
world’s 3.4 billion workers (Martin, 2010).
A city that attracts business provides jobs for the people, foster talents, attract
capital investments, boost productivity and improve the quality of life. It was
estimated that the Indian cities generate 70% of the new jobs and 70% of Indian
GDP in the year 2030 (McKinsey Global Institute, 2010). Good cities deliver robust
economic growth as well as sustainable quality of life (Figure 2). Employment
and surging growth in Indian cities drive population to 340 million in year 2008
and could reach 590 million by 2030. Poverty and lack of gainful employment in
rural areas drive people to the cities for work and livelihood (Bhowmik, 2000).
Five states in India will have more than 50% of urban population including Tamil
Nadu, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Punjab by 2030 (McKinsey Global
Institute, 2010).
The slum population of Indian cities in the year 2001 was 42.6 million and
11.2 million of the slum population in the country is in the state of Maharashtra
(Census 2001). The rapid urbanization in India leads to ‘Urbanization of Poverty’
characterized with poor provision for housing facility, water, sanitation, health,
education and social security (UNDP, 2009).
Substantial increase in migration from northern Indian states to Mumbai increased
during 1961 to 2001 which were higher than the migration from own state
Maharashtra. The inuxes of migrants from rural and regional centers of India,
makes the economic growth sustained and consequently makes the MMR one of
the fastest growing regions of India (Desai and Yadav, 2007). People migrate to
Mumbai for getting better employment, but most of them spend their life in city’s
Urban and peri-urban Agricultural Migration...
Fig. 1. Dimensions and types of UPA
(modied after; Van Veenhuizen and Danso, 2007).
Fig. 2. Ideal cites: Properties and characteristics
(modied after; McKinsey Global Institute, 2010).
Fig. 3. Push and pull factors for rural-urban migration (Timalsina, 2007).
sprawling slums and get employment only in low paid informal sector, unskilled
manufacturing or collecting and selling rubbish (Jen, 2007; Figure 3). Migration
and shortage of land due to extreme topography are the main factors for housing
crisis in Mumbai (Desai and Yadav, 2007).
In view of the above mentioned aspects, the objectives of this study were: (1) to
identify and characterize the various migratory patterns in various UPA production
systems across MMR and (2) to determine the link between UPA and migration.
Materials and Methods
Study area
Mumbai (18o53’- 19o04’ N 72o48’- 72o53’ E), known as the commercial capital
of India, is a heavily populated industrial city whose population in 2009 reached
21 millions, thus becoming the fourth largest urban agglomeration in the world
(Krishna and Govil, 2005; United Nations, 2010). Mumbai was the rst Indian
city to experience economical, social and technological changes with the
implementation of capitalism in India (Patel, 2007). The MMR longitudinally
extents to about 105 km; a deep landward creek of Thane in the southern part
(Gudadhe et al., 2012) and consists of 8 Municipal Corporations (Greater
Mumbai, Thane, Kalyan-Dombivali, Vasi-Virar, Navi Mumbai, Mira-Bhayandar,
Urban and peri-urban Agricultural Migration...
Bhiwandi-Nizampur, Ulhasnagar) and 9 Municipal Councils (Alibag, Ambernath,
Karjat, Khopoli, Kulgaon Badlapur, Matheran, Panvel, Pen, Uran) covering an
area of 4,355 km2 with a population density of 4,065 per km2 (MMRDA, 2010;
Table 1) and spread across 4 Districts (Mumbai city, Mumbai sub-urban, Thane
and Raigad).
Table 1: Basic statistics on Corporations and Councils in MMR (MMRDA, 2010).
Municipal Corporations
Name Area (
1981 1991 2001
Greater Mumbai
Municipal Councils
*Not Available
The opportunities in Mumbai city is unevenly distributed with differing entitlement
to basic amenities like water and sanitation, health care, nutrition and shelter
where 60% of the Mumbai’s population lives in slum areas (Parasuraman, 2007).
About 6 million people in Mumbai estimated to live on less than 1 US$ a day (Jen,
2007). Slum people have no access to basic amenities including water, sanitation
and health and these people often occupy overcrowded and polluted environments
(McFarlane, 2008).
Economic Importance
Mumbai is considered as the nancial, industrial and commercial capital of India
which accounts for about 1% of the total population of India (Jadhav, 2005; Table
2). Mumbai contributes about 40% of the GDP of Maharashtra, 4% of national
GDP (Prud’homme, 2005) and plays a major role in money market and foreign
exchange market transactions. Mumbai is the nancial hub of India harboring
the Reserve Bank of India, the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock
Exchange. Foreign institutional investors and term lending institutions nd
Mumbai as an “Eden” for investment and 80% of the country’s mutual funds
are registered in Mumbai (Jadhav, 2005). Mumbai accounts for about one tenth
of factory employment and value added manufacturing (Deshpande, 1996) and
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) or Municipal Corporation of
Greater Mumbai (MCGM) with a budget more than US$ 1.2 billion exceeding
the budget of nine states and union territories in India (Mohan, 2003).
Table 2. Comparison of Mumbai, Maharashtra and India (Jadhav, 2005).
Mumbai Maharashtra India Share (%; in
(%; in
Area (Sq. Km.) 468 3.08 Lakh** 32.87
0.14 0.013
11.9 96.8 1027 12.2 1.1
Gross Density
(No. of persons
per sq. Km.)
20,222 314 324
Total Regd.
working factories
7,212 28,949 255,837 24.9 2.8
Total workers
in factories
382,700 1,251,759 10,716,000 30.5 3.6
* 2001 Census
** 1Lakh= 0.1 Million
Climatic conditions and land use
Mean annual rainfall in MMR is 2642 mm and mean annual temperature is 26.8 °C
(from year 1955-2005; Regional Meteorological Center Mumbai, 2010). Maximum
rainfall occurs between June and September mainly due to south west monsoon and
Urban and peri-urban Agricultural Migration...
maximum temperature during the months of May and November (Vazhacharickal
and Buerkert, 2011). The total agricultural area in MMR is reported to be 2098
km2 in the year 1971 and got shrink to 1446 km2 in the year 1991 (Acharya, 2004).
Changes in the urbanization and industrialization have doubled the size of built
up area and industrial zone in the year 1991 (Vazhacharickal and Buerkert, 2011).
Survey design and data collection
High resolution Google Earth images (Google Inc, California, USA) and land use
maps were used to track the area of agricultural production in MMR and these
areas were marked with the help of ArcGis software (Esri Inc, California, USA).
The marked areas were used as a reference for the identication of gardens in
which survey work was conducted.
For the initial baseline survey, semi-structured questionnaires were prepared
covering demographic, socio-economic, migratory characteristics and laborer
details. A total of 165 interviews were conducted in different regions of MMR
(Figure 4) during July 2010 to December 2010, after respondents had been selected
using a snowball sampling method. Face to face interviews were conducted with
household heads/responsible persons in English, Hindi and Marathi with the
assistance of a translator. Locations of the farms/gardens were recorded using
Trimble Geoexplorer II (Trimble Navigation Ltd, Sunnyvale, California) and data
were transferred using GPS Pathnder Ofce software (Trimble Navigation Ltd,
Sunnyvale, California).
The baseline survey detected various UPA production systems including railway
gardens (RG), balcony gardens (BG), terrace gardens (TG), farms (F), goat keepers
(GK), chicken keepers (C) and Tabelas (T) (Vazhacharickal and Buerkert, 2011;
Vazhacharickal et al., 2013).
Statistical Analysis
The survey results were analyzed and descriptive statistics were done using SPSS
12.0 (SPSS Inc., an IBM Company, Chicago, USA) and graphs were generated
using Sigma plot 7 (Systat Software Inc, Chicago, USA).
Study Approach
The study approach used in this paper was based on primary and secondary data
from various resources. Thus, this paper is built on my own data as well as based
on literature survey.
Fig. 4. Map of MMR showing the location of 165 households interviewed in the
baseline survey. The dots indicate the position of the households and the respective
number in adjacent
Urban and peri-urban Agricultural Migration...
Fig. 5. Major urban and peri-urban agricultural related employment in Mumbai
Metropolitan Region (MMR): (top left), family selling vegetables; (top right), farmer
harvesting spinach; (middle left), farmer washing white radish collected from railway
garden; (middle right), sale of ornamental plants in Santacruz near highway in
Mumbai University; (bottom left), seasonal migrant workers employed in separating
rice grains; (bottom right), migrant worker taking care of buffaloes in Tableas.
Results and Discussion
Scope and Extent of UPA in MMR
Terrace and balcony gardens are highly popular in urban middle and upper class
families and were found as a sort of leisure activity for some people. An extensive
system of animal dairy production called as Tabelas (meaning stable) which are
common in Greater Mumbai and in the rest of MMR. These production systems
are close to highly inhabited areas also characterized by keeping buffaloes and
cows which supply the needs of local people.
The Indian Railways is a key player in UPA production in MMR. The unutilized
lands near railway tracks and stations are rented out to outside people and railway
class IV employees (gang men, gate keepers and khalasis). This scheme was started
by the Indian Railways promoting “Grow More Food” especially vegetables. The
scheme was also intended to prevent or stop the railway land being encroached by
outside slum people (Indian Railways, 2007). Farms outside Greater Mumbai have
a size ranging from 0.3 to 20 hectares and most of the farms were characterized
by rice cultivation in the rainy season (July-October), vegetables in the winter
and summer seasons (November-June) and some intercropping with owers
and fruit trees (Figure 5). Goat keepers, predominantly Muslim population, are
located mostly in Greater Mumbai provides animals for their religious rituals.
These production systems are mostly extensive with a maximum of 15 heads kept
on small areas near the scrap or small shops and they are fed with market wastes
and leftovers from the kitchen.
Marketing channels in Mumbai are often well organized and have an established
distribution networks consist of wholesalers, retailers, commission agents and
street vendors. Urban and peri-urban agriculture production in MMR provides
a lot of opportunities to urban poor, slum people and middle class families. The
UPA production does generate income not only to farmers but also to local street
vendors who reap multiple benets due to local procurements which help them to
sell fresh vegetables in the market.
The recycling of organic waste within the city and supplying the local markets
with fresh vegetables, milk, meat and owers contribute to self-subsistence of
the agglomeration and increase of the sustainable use of resources. Government
authorities promote urban agriculture and city farming as a tool for decreasing
the cost of waste disposal. Community city farming initiatives are gaining much
importance in MMR as these can considerably reduce the cost of garbage disposal
and allows the maximum utilization of space and resources.
Household Classication
The respondents were asked to classify as themselves poor, medium or rich
according to their own perception. Of the total 165 interviews, 75 were poor, 74
medium and 16 rich (45.5%, 44.8% and 9.7% respectively).
Household structure and level of education
The household structure was found to be heterogeneous from the initial baseline
survey ranging from 1 to 17. On average, 1 member was children up to 15 years;
Urban and peri-urban Agricultural Migration...
4 were 15 to 55 years and 1 was above 55 years. The average number household
members (5.2) from the survey were slightly above the average households
members in urban MMR which is 5.1 (MMRDA, 2010).
Migration Pattern
Migration was associated across various production systems; in which 70% of the
survived households were native to MMR, 6% migrants from Maharashtra state
and 24% from rest of India. Out of 38 RG households, 30 (79%) were migrant
people from outside Maharashtra states (Figure 6) which is quite a high rate
of migration. In F, 90% were native of MMR and acquired their land through
ancestral property. The BG and TG were comprised of migrant people outside
state 30% and 33% respectively. 38% of the T households were also migrants from
outside MMR.
Type of production system
Frequency (%)
Native (MMR)
Outside Maharashtra
Fig. 6. Percentage of household heads having achieved different educational
levels from different production systems across MMR
Seasonal agricultural migration
Agricultural migration in MMR is particularly more during planting and harvesting
of paddy. The nature of employment includes all phases in the cultivation beginning
with clearing the land for cultivation, planting, weeding, application of insecticides
and ends with harvesting the paddy and separating from hay. Handpicked paddy
harvest and manual separation of rice grain from hay by beating them to drums
or stones still exist in MMR. The peak season for this agricultural labor migration
ranges between July to October with a maximum submit in the last month. These
labors are coming from far-off villages with an expectation of higher wages,
better accommodation and more job prospects. The wages differ from areas to
area within the MMR that is ranging from 60 to 150 Indian Rupees (INR) per
day. The daily wages, of male workers are comparatively higher than their female
counterpart, which includes food, extra allowance for panparag (chewing tobacco)
and liquor. Maximum pay can be seen in north-western area MMR including Virar,
Vasi, Arnala and Akashi and less pay in south-eastern part of MMR like Khopoli,
Karjat, Alibag and pen.
Migration in Railway garden
UPA production are found throughout both sides of railway tracks of Central,
Western and Harbor lines of Indian Railways in MMR. Vacant land near
railway tracks and stations have been rented to Railway Class IV employees.
These contracts are to be renewed annually. They were also given housing
accommodation and protection by the Railway. The Indian Railway started the
scheme “Grow More Food” with a motto to produce vegetables near the railway
tracks is to meet the daily vegetable needs of the urban people, preventing the
railway land being encroached, and provide livelihood strategies and to create
employment to migrant people.
The people who have been taken leased land from Indian railways are mainly from
Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Madhaya Pradesh (MP). These people stay in tents without
electricity and without basic amenities. Most of the farmers stay with their family,
in most cases the workers are usually their relatives or from the same village.
The railway gardens are characterized by very intensive market based vegetable
production with maximum utilization of land and limited natural resources such
as water and manure. The rent charged by the Railway authority can vary between
3000 to 6000 INR depending on the size and location of the land.
Migration in Tabelas
“Tabelas” can be seen quite dispersed throughout MMR region. Tabela’s herd
size range from 30 to 120 buffaloes and also comprise a few heads of cattle. The
owners of Tabelas are migrant people from other states. The Tabelas employ lots
of migrant people for watching out, cleaning, milking and distribution of milk.
Tabelas with a herd size of 40 buffalos gives full time employment for 4 to 6
people daily throughout the year. The wages differ from 120 to 160 INR.
Livestock diversies the opportunities of urban poor (Guendel, 2002), provides
nutrition with improved food security (Shiere and Van der Hoek, 2001)
and recycles wastes (Richardson and Whitney, 1995). Tabelas in MMR
play a vital role in providing nutrition and food security to urban people.
In spite of all these advantages, the key issues associated with livestock
Urban and peri-urban Agricultural Migration...
keeping in urban areas include pollution from animal wastes, health
hazards to humans, stench, and trafc hazards (Lewcock, 1996; UNDP,
Migration to permanent agricultural jobs
Migrant people also nd permanent jobs in farms and nurseries in MMR. This
involves ower pickers, coconut harvesters and daily farm laborers. Most of the
people lives near by the farms and get food from the farm. The wages varies from
120 to 200 INR. These people stays with their family and the family members also
nd local jobs in neighboring areas.
Migration to horticulture
Migrant people also nd job opportunities in selling ornamental ower pots and
decoration plants. Most of such people nd spaces near highways or motor ways.
They live in tents, and pots are exhibited adjacent to motor ways/main highways
to attract customers. The main advantage of such vendors is that they get clients
who comes with vehicles and takes the pot with plants. In addition to these sales,
they also take pots in a cycle rickshaw for selling in ats and houses nearby. The
people also sell plastic pots, manure, soil and soil supplements. Children also
assist in the process by maintaining the pots especially pruning, cleaning the area
and irrigation.
Migration for vending agricultural commodities
Street vendor in Mumbai supply essential commodities to people where people
can purchase things with easiness. Migrant people also nd jobs in street vending
activities. They provide local goods especially electronics and cloths at reasonable
price. On the other hand, agricultural commodities including fruits, vegetables
and owers were charged 20 to 30% than the wholesale rate. Female vendors
play a major role in selling vegetables especially green leafy vegetables and other
green herbs which is a daily food ingredient of almost all food dishes in India.
They collect commodities from wholesale markets like Kalyan, Vashi and Dadar.
After procurement, the commodities are then cleaned and sorted before selling to
the customers. The housewives of the farmers also sell their product directly in
the streets and the markets. Tender coconut sellers also pay a major role in street
vending of agricultural commodities. Fruit and vegetable juice venders are also
a part of this network and major juices includes sugarcane (Saccharum) juice,
carrot (Daucus carota) juice, chikoo (Manilkara zapota) juice, mango (Mangifera
indica) juice, lemon (Citrus x limon) juice and musambi (Citrus limetta) juice.
Most of them have opted vending as a solution to reduce poverty and as a livelihood
opportunity. According to Bhowmik (2010), a large section of urban street vendors
lacks or have low employment skills and migrated from rural areas.
Protest against migration
The Shiv Sena argues that the migration in MMR is the major reason for
unemployment and lack of jobs for the local Maharashtrian people (Hansen, 2001).
It was estimated that 90,000 huts were destroyed during 2004 and 2005, leaving
350,000 peoples homeless by the protest against immigrant people (McFarlane,
2008). The Shiv Sena argues that Maratians must get job rst since this people are
native to the land (sons of Maharashtra’s soil) and was estimated that nearly 100
to 300 new families migrate to Mumbai each day.
Migration is always a serious concern to researchers, urban planners and policy
makers. According to Jadhav (2005), it is very difcult to segregate the two factors
of migration (Figure 2), pull migration (people who are drawn to bright futures in
the city) and push migration (people who are forced to leave their homes). Migrant
people who cannot nd job end up with anti-social activities and rag picking or
begging (Rani, 2009).
Majority of the people migrating to Mumbai nd jobs in informal sectors especially
construction works and live in slums with lack of basic amenities (Jen, 2007).
The unbalanced urbanization and industrialization process in Asia has resulted in
huge migration of people from rural areas to urban areas where people reluctant
to take up agricultural employment which is comparatively less attractive in terms
of monetary benets (Charsombut, 1981; Shaw, 2004). The opportunities in other
sectors and booming economy also stops people, especially the youth, from taking
up jobs in agriculture sector (Sharma and Bhaduri, 2006).
Housing crisis is a major problem in Mumbai and within 25 km from the city
center, sea and water bodies occupy 66 percentage of the total area (Bertaud,
2004). In mega cities, the Floor Space Index (FSI) varies from 5 to 15 in Central
Business District (CBD) and 0.5 in suburbs. In contrast to this, in Mumbai FSI
remain 1.33 for the city and 1.0 in suburbs (Desai, 2007).
Lack of affordable accommodation within the city forces the people to move
towards outskirts and travel up to 4 hours each day to get to their place of work
(Jen, 2007). Most commuters depend on rail which makes the sub-urban trains
in Mumbai overcrowded during peak hours. It was estimated that 6.3 million
commuters use daily the sub-urban trains (Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation Ltd,
2010). The Indian Railways calls this phenomena as Super Dense Crush Load in
which 14 to 16 persons occupy per square meter of oor space.
Effective management of solid waste is yet another challenge. BMC spends 6.5
to 7.0 Billions of INR per annum for the waste disposal. 7500 tons of garbage are
being generated each day in Greater Mumbai and 40 percentage of these wastes
are completely biodegradable (Jadhav, 2005; Davis, 2010). Air pollution load due
to combustion of fossil fuels amount to 459 metric tons (MT) per day whereby
Urban and peri-urban Agricultural Migration...
an estimated 60 percentage of air pollution is caused by automobile emission
(MPCB, 2005).
Urbanization generally lowers the poverty, but some aspects of economic
developments and changes linked with the processes of urbanization in India
created a negative impact on urban poor community. Such major such issues
involves the closing down of textile mills and slum demolition programmes
(UNDP, 2009). Urbanization and urban growth creates a mixture of problems
involving social and environmental aspects including crime, congestion, pollution,
child labor, epidemics and social injustices (World Bank, 2002).
UPA activities provide employment for a lot of people especially the migrant
people. The UPA activities can considerably reduce the domestic wastes and make
the cities more sustainable and cleaner. It is very easy to nd UPA jobs in MMR.
The street vending of agricultural products in MMR is very common and requires
less capital investment and space. Preference of the buyers especially youth and
rich persons from street vendors is already reported by Saha (2009). These UPA
activities in MMR can sustainably ll the gaps of unemployment created by the
informal sector and provide livelihood strategies for urban poor. UPA could be
linked with the micronance programme which is aimed to empower the urban
poor economically and it could be transformed as a key tool to accomplish the
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of United Nations.
According to Bhowmik (2000), street vendors constitute a large group of urban
workforce with an estimate of more than 200,000 street vendors in Mumbai.
The Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and Youth for Unity and Voluntary
Action (YUVA) survey found out that majority of vegetables vendors are females
with an earning capacity of 35 to 50 INR per day, also facing lot of harassment
from authorities. About 15% of the street vendors in Mumbai are migrant people
(Bhowmik, 2000) which is also the same scenario in other Indian cities like
Hyderabad (Rani, 2009) and Ahmadabad (Patil, 2010).
Rural to urban migration is creating food insecurities in cities and of course the
urban poor are worst hit by the global food decit. UPA production in MMR
plays a vital role in making the city sustainable, provides a lot of opportunities to
urban poor and as means to recycle the wastages. UPA activities certainly, act as a
vital tool in providing income generation provision for migrant people and hence
reduce urban poverty. Like all other informal sectors, UPA production should be
also studied in depth to discover and exact share and role in supporting migrant
people. Since migration is a severe social problem in MMR, UPA activities can
substantially reduce poverty and economic deprivation of urban poor particularly
slum dwellers.
The author would like to thank International Centre of Development and Decent
Work (ICDD) at University of Kassel, Germany and Fiat Panis Foundation (Ulm,
Germany) for providing a scholarship and necessary nancial support.
Acharya, A.K. (2004). Population growth and changing land-use pattern in Mumbai
Metropolitan Region of India. Caminhos de Geograa, 11: 168-185.
Bertaud, A. (2004). Mumbai FSI Conundrum. The perfect strom.
Bhowmik, S. (2000). Hawkers and urban informal sector: A study of street vending in seven
cities. National Alliance Street Vendors of India. Available from http://www.nasvinet.
Bhowmik, S. (2010). Urban response to street trading: India. Available from http://www.
Census. (2001). Census of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.
Charsombut, P. (1981). Labor migration from agriculture in Thailand. SEAPRAP Research,
Report No. 55, Institute of South East Asian Studies, Singapore.
Cohen, B. (2006). Urbanization in developing countries: current trends, future projections,
and key challenges for sustainability. Technology in Society, 28(1): 63-80.
Davis, B. (2010). Solid waste management in Mumbai. Understanding our civic issues.
The Bombay Community Public Trust (BCPT), Mumbai, India. Available from http:// (accessed 10
October 2010)
Desai, G. and Yadav, M. (2007). Housing tenure for the urban poor: A case study
of Mumbai city. Housing Conference. Available from
Deshpande, L. (1996). Impact of globalization in Mumbai. Globalization and Mega-city
development in Pacic Asia. United Nations University. Hong Kong.
Ezedinma, C. and Chukuezi, C. (1999). A comparative analysis of urban agricultural
enterprises in Lagos and Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Environment & Urbanization, 11(2):
Gudadhe, S.S., Sangode, S.J., Patil, S.K., Chate, D.M., Meshram, D.C. and Badekar.,
A.G. (2012). Pre-and post-monsoon variations in the magnetic susceptibilities of soils
of Mumbai metropolitan region: implications to surface redistribution of urban soils
loaded with anthropogenic particulates. Environmental Earth Sciences, 67(3): 813-831.
Guendel, S. (2002). Peri-urban and urban livestock keeping in East Africa – A coping
strategy for the poor? Livestock Production Programme (LPP)
Hansen, T.B. (2001). Wages of violence: Naming and identity in postcolonial Bombay,
New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
Harris, J.M. (1996). World agricultural futures: regional sustainability and ecological
limits. Ecological Economics, 17(2): 95-115.
Urban and peri-urban Agricultural Migration...
Hill, K., Quinnelly, D.D. and Kazmierowski, K. (2007). Urban agriculture in Naga city.
Cultivating sustainable livelihoods. In: Planning report for Naga city council June 2007.
Indian Railways. (2007). Report no. 6 of 2007 (Railways), Mumbai, India.
Jadhav, N. (2005). Economic renewal of Mumbai city: Opportunities and constraints.
International Conference on Urban Renewal: Learnings for Mumbai, Mumbai.
Jansen, H.G.P. (1992). Supply and demand of AVRDC mandate crops in Asia: implications
of past trends for future developments. AVRDC Working Paper Series no. 84(4). Asian
Vegetable Research and Development Center, Taiwan.
Jen, G. (2007). Mumbai: Global cities, London: Evans Brothers Limited.
Krishna, K.A. and Govil, P.K. (2005). Heavy metal distribution and contamination in soils
of Thane-Belapur industrial development area, Mumbai, Western India. Environmental
Geology, 47(8): 1054-1061.
Lewcock, C. (1996). Agricultural issues for developing country city management. Town
and country planning. Quarterly Review of Town and Country Planning Associations,
65(10): 267-269.
Martin, P. (2010). Climate change, agricultural development, and migration. The German
Marshall Fund of the United States. Available fromle/PMartin_V2.pdf
McFarlane, C. (2008). Sanitation in Mumbai’s informal settlements: state, slum and
infrastructure. Environment and Planning A, 40(1): 88-107.
McKinsey Global Institute. (2010). India’s urban awakening: Building inclusive cities,
sustaining economic growth. McKinsey & Company, Mumbai, India.
Midmore, D.J. and Jansen, H.G.P. (2003). Supplying vegetables to Asian cities: is there a
case of peri-urban production? Food Policy, 28: 13-27.
MMRDA. (2010). Draft regional plan for Mumbai metropolitan region (MMR), MMRDA,
Mumbai, India.
Mohan, R. (2003). The twenty rst century Asia becomes urban. World Bank.
MPCB. (2005). Report on environment status of Mumbai region, MPCB, Mumbai, India.
Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation Ltd. (2010). Available from
MRVC/intr.html (accessed 20 October 2010)
Mougeot, L.J.A. (2000). ‘Urban agriculture: denition, presence, potentials and risks’ in
Bakker, N., Dubbeling, M., Gündel, S., Sabel-Koschellaand, U. and de Zeeuw, H. (eds.)
Growing Cities, Growing Food: Urban Agriculture on the Policy Agenda, Feldang:
Deutsche Stiftung für internationale Entwicklung (DSE).
Obuobie, E., Keraita, B., Danso, G., Amoah, P., Coe, O.O., Raschid-Sally, L. and
Drechsel, P. (2006). Irrigated urban vegetable production in Ghana: Characteristics,
benets and risks, Accra: International Water Management Institute.
Parasuraman, S. (2007). Uncovering the myth of urban development in Mumbai. Urban
Age India Conference. Available from
Patel, S. (2007). ‘Mumbai: the mega city of a poor country’ in Segbers, C. (ed.) The making
of global city regions-Johannesburg, Mumbai/Bombay, Sao Paulo, and Shanghai,
Maryland: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Patil, S. (2010). Vegetable hawkers on roadsides: Background for regulation & rehabilitation
strategy. Available from
(accessed 18 October 2012)
Prud’homme, R. (2005). Financing Mumbai investment needs. Note for the World Bank
and Mumbai Transformation Project, 15.
Rani, V.U. (2009). Women in street food system of Hyderabad/India: Livelihood
opportunities, vulnerabilities and conicts. “Research for the Sustainable Development
of the Megacities of Tomorrow”. Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF),
Richardson, G. and Whitney, J. (1995). Goats and garbage in Khartoum, Sudan: A study of
urban ecology of animal keeping. Human Ecology, 23(4): 455-475.
Ruel, M., Haddad, L. and Garrett, J.L. (1999). Some urban facts of life: Implications for
research and policy. World Development, 27(11): 1917-1938.
Saha, D. (2009). Decent work for the street venders in Mumbai, India: A distant vision.
Journal of Workplace Rights, 14(2): 229-250.
Schiere, H. and Van der Hoek, R. (2001). Livestock keeping in urban areas: A review of
traditional technologies based on literature and eld experience. FAO, Rome.
Sharma, A. and Bhaduri, A. (2006). The “Tipping Point” in Indian agriculture:
Understanding the withdrawal of the Indian rural youth. Draft prepared for the IWMI-
CPWF project on “Strategic Analysis of National River Linking Project of India”.
Available from
Shaw, A. (2004). The making of Navi Mumbai, Hyderabad: Orient Longman Private
Sinha, A. (2009). Agriculture and food security: Crises and challenges today. Social Action,
59(2): 1-16.
Timalsina, K.P. (2007). Rural urban migration and livelihood in the informal sector: A
study of street venders of Kathmandu metropolitan city, Nepal. Norwegian University
of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.
UNDP. (1996). Urban agriculture: food, jobs and sustainable cities. United Nations
Development Programme, New York, USA.
UNDP. (2009). India: Urban poverty report 2009-factsheet. United Nations Development
Programme. Available from
UNEP. (2006). State of the world cities 2006/7. The millennium goals and urban
sustainability. UN-Habitat, United Nations Environment Programme, New York, USA.
United Nations. Department of Economic and Social Affairs (2010). World Urbanization
Prospects - The 2009 Revision, United Nations, New York, USA.
Van Veenhuizen, R. and Danso G. (2007). Protability and sustainability of urban and peri-
urban agriculture. Agricultural Management, Marketing and Finance Occasional Paper
19, FAO, Rome, Italy.
Urban and peri-urban Agricultural Migration...
Vazhacharickal, P.J. and Buerkert, A. (2011). Sustainable cities: an overview of the urban and
peri-urban agricultural production in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). Leituras
de Economia Política, 19: 69-87.
Vazhacharickal, P.J., Predotova, M., Chandrasekharam, D., Bhowmik, S. and Buerkert, A.
(2013). Urban and peri-urban agricultural production along railway tracks: a case study
from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. Journal of Agriculture and Rural Development
in the Tropics and Subtropics, 114 (2): 145-157.
World Bank (2002). World development report 2003: Sustainable development in a
dynamic world. Oxford University Press, New York, USA.
... The irrigation commanded areas with a local population dependent on agriculture have also been delineated for protection from urbanization. Another noteworthy feature is that the railway land on the sides of the tracks has been leased to the lowest category of railway employees for the cultivation of vegetables (Vazhacharickal, 2014). This practice is viable as it is economically beneficial to the farmers and environmentally favourable by protecting the land from illegal encroachments. ...
Full-text available
For developing long term climate resilience and enabling adaptation to climate risks, the National Action Plan of Climate Change (NAPCC) was adopted by the national government and the same has to be followed up by the state governments. By now, 32 states and union territories have submitted their Adaptation Plans which are further to be espoused by the local governments within each state. Many a times, this complex process of succeeding the action plans from one level to another becomes the weakness of the system. For Maharashtra, the Maharashtra State Adaptation Action Plan for Climate Change (MSAAPCC) outlines measures for climate action protocols. This brief assesses the Regional Development Plan of Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) in relation with MSAAPCC aiming to contemplate upon the governance considerations required to deal with climate change. The analysis reveals a case of pro climate policies present in the planning system and exposes the existing loopholes. The policy brief concludes by recommending ways to incorporate the climate adaptation guidelines into the multi layered institutional network of MMR.
... The influxes of migrants from rural and regional centers of India, makes the economic growth sustained and consequently makes the MMR one of the fastest growing regions of India (Desai and Yadav, 2007). People migrate to Mumbai for getting better employment, but most of them spend their life in city's sprawling slums and get employment only in low paid informal sector, unskilled manufacturing or collecting and selling rubbish (Jen, 2007;Vazhacharickal, 2014a). For the urban poor hawking/street vending is a major livelihood strategy as it requires minor financial inputs and skills (Bhowmik, 2000;Bhowmik, 2010). ...
Full-text available
Rapid urbanization in India creates social problems where urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) has a role of in reducing urban poverty and ensuring environmental sustainability. Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) is a fastest growing region in India with a population of 21 million where high proportion of urban poor along with higher migration to MMR makes the region vulnerable to food crisis. This paper focuses on the current situation street vending and UPA production systems in MMR with special attention towards their contribution towards the local services. An over view about the various concepts of street vending were also presented. The question about the various social dimensions and aspects of these marketing systems were also mentioned. Based on primary and secondary data, this paper attempts to confirm that street vending in UPA production complement rural supply chains and reduce ecological food prints. These marketing systems should be better planned and incorporated into the city architecture for ensuring local food supply and employment opportunities in MMR.
How was labour hit by the pandemic in different contexts? What strategies were applied to cope with the labour and economic challenges faced by different countries? What are the similarities and differences of the impact of COVID-19 in the regions of the world for workers of various industries, considering the gender and racial aspects? This book brings valuable contributions of academics, researchers, and labour movement activists from all regions of the globe. The articles include ten studies on single countries and two cross-country analyses, thereby debate and respond to some of these questions and look at the consequences in the ground.
How was labour hit by the pandemic in different contexts? What strategies were applied to cope with the labour and economic challenges faced by different countries? What are the similarities and differences of the impact of COVID-19 in the regions of the world for workers of various industries, considering the gender and racial aspects? This book brings valuable contributions of academics, researchers, and labour movement activists from all regions of the globe. The articles include ten studies on single countries and two cross-country analyses, thereby debate and respond to some of these questions and look at the consequences in the ground.
Dhaka city in Bangladesh, with a population density of approximately 27,700 people per square kilometre, is one of the densest cities in the world. The urban morphological characteristics and urban design and planning provisions in the high-density city restrict land availability for growing food locally. As a result, the food, especially vegetables and fruits available in the local market of Dhaka, are transported from the rural regions of the country, with high food miles, mostly adulterated with preservatives for longer shelve life. Evidence shows that this megacity is adopting useful pathways to integrate safer local food production or urban agriculture within the built environments. Unsafe available food is not the only problem of this city. In more than 30 years, Dhaka city has lost enormous amounts of open spaces, decreasing from 44.8% to 24.1%. As a result, the city has lost its agricultural land, other food producing spaces such as home and community gardens, small vegetable farms, and recreational spaces such as neighbourhood parks. Local food production on rooftops can be a gateway for safer food production, as well as adding extra green spaces to the city.
Full-text available
Urban and periurban agriculture (UPA) contributes to food security, serves as an opportunity for income generation, and provides recreational services to urban citizens. With a population of 21 Million people, of which 60% live in slums, UPA activities can play a crucial role in supporting people's livelihoods in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). This study was conducted to characterize the railway gardens, determine their role in UPA production, and assess potential risks. It comprises a baseline survey among 38 railway gardeners across MMR characterized by different demographic, socio-economic, migratory, and labour characteristics. Soil, irrigation water, and plant samples were analyzed for nutrients, heavy metals, and microbial load. All the railway gardeners practiced agriculture as a primary source of income and cultivated seasonal vegetables such as lady's finger (Abelmoschus esculentus L. Moench), spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.), red amaranth (Amaranthus cruentus L.), and white radish (Raphanus sativus var. longipinnatus) which were irrigated with waste water. This irrigation water was loaded with 7-28 mg Nl -1, 0.3-7 mg P l-1, and 8-32 mg Kl-1, but also contained heavy metals such as lead (0.02-0.06 mg Pbl -1), cadmium (0.03-0.17 mg Cd l-1), mercury (0.001-0.005 mg Hg l-1), and pathogens such as Escherichia coli (1,100 most probable number per 100 ml). Levels of heavy metals exceeded the critical thresholds in surface soils (Cr, Ni, and Sr) and produce (Pb, Cd, and Sr). The railway garden production systems can substantially foster employment and reduce economic deprivation of urban poor particularly slum dwellers and migrant people. However this production system may also cause possible health risks to producers and consumers.
Full-text available
Urban and peri-urban agriculture provide income generation to urban poor making the cities more sustainable. With a population of around 21 Million people, UPA activities play a crucial role in supporting people's life in Mumbai. A wide range of agricultural production systems with maximum utilization of resources can be seen in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).Fast urbanization and rapid population growth have resulted in declining agricultural activities in eastern side of MMR. Marketing of agricultural commodities is easy inside MMR with a well connected network of wholesalers, retailers and street venders. The usage of sewages and wastewater for UPA production in MMR has to be studied in detail for the health benefits of consumers and producers. With the help of a baseline survey this paper tries to reveal an overview of UPA production in MMR with an insight into the pros and cons.
Acronyms vii Introduction: The Proper Name 1 Chapter 1: Deccan Pastoral: The Making of an Ethnohistorical Imagination in Western India 20 Chapter 2: Bombay and the Politics of Urban Desire 37 Chapter 3: "Say with Pride That We Are Hindus": Shiv Sena and Communal Populism 70 Chapter 4: Thane City: The Making of Politcal Dadaism 101 Chapter 5: Riots, Policing, and Truth Telling in Bombay 121 Chapter 6: In the Muslim Mohalla 160 Chapter 7: Living the Dream: Governance, Graft, and Goons 194 Conclusion: Politics as Permanent performance 227 Notes 235 Glossary 251 Bibliography 255 Index 267
Technical Report
Available online at:
In most Indian cities the urban poor survive by working in the informal sector. Poverty and lack of gainful employment in the rural areas and in the smaller towns drive large numbers of people to the cities for work and livelihood. These people generally possess low skills and lack the level of education required for the better paid jobs in the formal sector. Besides, permanent protected jobs in the formal sector are shrinking hence even those having the requisite skills are unable to find proper employment. For these people work in the informal sector are the only means for their survival. This has led to a rapid growth of the informal sector in most of the larger cities. For the urban poor, street vending is one of the means of earning a livelihood, as it requires minor financial input and the skills involved are low. A large section of street vendors in urban areas are those with low skills and who have migrated to the larger cities from rural areas or small towns in search of employment. These people take to street vending when they do not find other means of livelihood. Though the income in this profession is low, the investment too is low and the people do not require special skills or training. Hence for these people, men and women, street vending is the easiest form for earning their livelihood. There is also another section of the urban population that has taken to street vending, namely, those once engaged in the formal sector. These people, or their spouses, were once engaged in better paid jobs in the textile mills in Mumbai and Ahmedabad and engineering firms in Kolkata. Formal sector workers in these three metropolises have had to face large -scale unemployment due to the closure of these industries. Many of them, or their wives, have become street vendors in order to eke out a living. A study on street vendors, conducted in these cities, show that around 30% of the street vendors in Ahmedabad and Mumbai and 50% in Kolkata were once engaged in the formal sector. A study conducted by Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA) in Ahmedabad shows that around half the retrenched textile workers are now street vendors. Street Vendors and the Urban Economy Over the past few decades we can observe that there is substantial increase in the number of street vendors in the major Indian cities. Mumbai has the largest number of street vendors numbering around 250,000. Kolkata has more than 150,000 street vendors.