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Urban Rooftop Farming in the Greater Cairo Region

: Rooftop farming has been applied at several locations in the Greater Cairo Region as an adaptation intervention that serves to limit localised heat stress, ameliorate living conditions and generate income, in conjunction with technical capacity-building training familiarising the trainees with several options for  cultivating the crops. The crops grown were jarjeer (Eruca sativa, ‘Rucola’), mint (Mentha spicata), molokhia (Corchorus sp.), onion, cherry tomatoes, strawberries and flowers. Besides the hydroponic system  (waterbeds on the floor), a hydroponic system on tables and a soil-based system on tables were tested.  Throughout the cultivation period, the project was technically supported and monitored. (Schuck, 2016). Parametric studies have been realised with the aim of measuring the impact of RTF on the micro-climate through simulations, measuring micro-climatic aspects before and after project implementation. (Fangary, 2019). The Rooftop Farming Hubs project was implemented (2017-2018) to support a local sustainable social-business model in order to strengthen the social and economic aspects of the project, while looking at RTF from a community development perspective (Fangary, 2019; Farag, 2020).
: Egypt
: Cairo
: 3,085 km²
: 20900604 (World Population Review, 2020)
: 2014
: 2 years
: Completed
: Yes
: GIZ, commissioned by the Federal Ministry for Economic  Cooperation and Development (BMZ), implemented the project  in cooperation with two NGOs ‐ the Participatory Development  Programme in Urban Areas (PDP) and the Research Center on  Urban Agriculture and Food Security (RUAF) and the private Schaduf Company
: 30.0177
: 31.4224
Increased provisioning of ecosystem goods (e.g. Food, water, etc)
Yes, the project is aimed to support a local sustainable social-business model through urban rooftop farming.
Reduced drought risk, cooling effect, urban heat island mitigation
Yes, rooftop farming (in addition to other types of urban agriculture) has a beneficial impact on the microclimate (IUCN, 2019) and acts to limit localised heat stress (Schuck, 2016).
Increased quality and quantity of green and blue infrastructures
Yes, introducing green spaces in the form of urban farming on rooftops in a very densely populated area (Farag, 2020) with limited availability of agricultural lands (urban sprawl has led to the loss of about 19% of fertile agricultural lands (Youssef, Sevilam, Khadr, 2020).
Sustainable urbanisation
Rooftop farming (like other types of urban agriculture) has a beneficial effect on the microclimate and the environment, and on economic development as well as community participation. It can be considered as an option as regards adaptation to climate change in urban environments. (Schuck, 2016).
Improved aesthetic value
Yes, rooftop farming is located in Cairo's urban areas (unplanned informal settlements).
Creation of green jobs relating to the construction and maintenance of NBS
Through the 2017 scaled up project, there are around 20 households/ families participating part of the rooftop farming network, as well as an additional 20 beneficiaries that were trained to become part of the Rooftop farming (RTF) Hub enabled to onboard new household. (Farag, 2020)
Increased access to green infrastructure
Yes, the one of the project outcomes is increased access to green infrastructure in the Cairo region.
Increased social interaction and inclusion
Yes, rooftop farming has  a beneficent impact on integration of marginalized groups (e.g. women and youth) and community participation.   (IUCN, 2019).
Increased willingness, participation, investment in NBS
Yes, by communities, NGOs and institutional stakeholders participation. (Schuck, 2016).
Provision of health benefits
Yes, rooftop farming has a beneficial effect on health (Schuck, 2016).
Education, knowledge exchange and learning
Yes, through capacity building theoretical, technical and practical trainings more information was provided about rooftop farming (e.g. about a hydroponic system of waterbeds; financial costs of the  installation and operational aspects). (IUCN, 2019; Fangary, 2019).
Low provisioning of ecosystem goods (e.g. Water, food)
Drought and heat risk
Yes, over the past decades the average annual air temperature in the Greater Cairo Region has been steadily going up and is expected to rise further. (Schuck, 2016).
Low availability of green infrastructure
The Arab region is one of the most urbanized and rapidly urbanizing regions in the world. Whereas in 2010 circa 56% of the total population were city-dwellers, in 2050 the percentage is expected to have risen to 68%. Cairo is expected to remain the largest city of the Arab region, reaching 16 million inhabitants by 2050. (Schuck, 2016).
Low aesthetic value
Local unemployment
Yes, rooftop farming has  a positive effectt on income and economic development. The implementation of the project  began with the selection of participants, and this was succeded by training and the technical setup. To be able  to meet the costs for the technical installations, the low‐income  families were granted repayable loans (by Schaduf Company), which  were paid back by monthly crop sales. Farmers were typically able  to pay back the loans within a year.  Families retained roughly 10% of the crops grown for  personal consumption. Schaduf Company purchased the  rest, reselling it to local markets with profit for  the farmers. (Schuck, 2016).
Food security (SDG2) Zero Hunger
Good health and well-being (SDG3)
Sustainable cities and communities (SDG11)
Climate action, resilience, mitigation and adaptation (SDG13)
: IUCN. 2019. Nature based Solutions in Mediterranean cities. Rapid assessment report and compilation of urban interventions (2017‐2018). Malaga, Spain: IUCN. 117pp. Farag, F. 2020. A socio-economic approach to Urban Rooftop farming in the Greater Cairo Region. Information obtained: 2021-01-14. Available at:

Fangary, M. 2019. Urban Agriculture in the Greater Cairo Region. Information obtained: 2021-01-14. Available at:

Schuck, C. P. 2016. Urban Agriculture in the Greater Cairo Region: An Example of Rooftop Farming. In Bartels, M. & Prinz, D. (Eds.) (2016) 'Coping with Water Scarcity under Changing Climatic Conditions: Best Practices and Innovations on Trial. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ): Bonn, Germany. World Population Review. 2020. Cairo: Population 2020. Information obtained: 2020-09-17. Available at:

Youssef, A., Sevilam, H., Khadr, Z. 2020. Impact of Urban Sprawl on Agriculture Lands in Greater Cairo. Journal of Urban Planning and Development, 146(4): 05020027.