The Characteristics, Extent and Drivers of Urban Food Poverty in Kisumu, Kenya
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Kisumu – Kenya’s third-largest city – experiences a very high level of food insecurity that is directly linked to poverty. Given the precarious employment status of many in Kisumu, and the high levels of food insecurity, conventional responses to urban food security that seek to increase availability of food, generally through production support, will not effectively address food insecurity in Kisumu. In Kisumu, most residents access food through the market: through the formal supermarket sector, municipal markets, or the informal sector. All play a role in the food system; all are important. For the poor, however, study findings suggest that the informal sector is of critical importance. Although the boundary between the formal and informal sectors is often blurred, municipal markets, kiosks and street traders play a key role in the food economy of Kisumu. The population of Kisumu is growing rapidly, with a high percentage of residents under the age of 30 years. Urban services and infrastructure are significantly lacking, particularly in the informal settlements. The intersection of youth, unemployment, infrastructure, poverty and levels of food insecurity highlights the systemic nature of the poverty and food-security challenge in Kisumu. This calls for very different programmatic responses to address these challenges. Food poverty can be addressed from both the supply and demand sides, by boosting production and removing bottlenecks in the supply chain, as well as creating more economic opportunities for employment and improving household incomes. But a key consideration in addressing food poverty is to integrate food into planning and infrastructure thinking and design. Food intersects with space and makes food-sensitive planning a responsibility of a wide variety of city planners and development practitioners. The long-term development and health-related consequences of food poverty place Kisumu City at risk of continued food insecurity and long-term under-development, well into the future, unless food security is urgently placed on the city’s development agenda.
CitationOpiyo, Paul; Obange, Nelson; Ogindo, Harun; and Wagah, George (2018), The Characteristics, Extent and Drivers of Urban Food Poverty in Kisumu, Kenya, Consuming Urban Poverty Project Working Paper No 4, African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town
Rights holder© Paul Opiyo, Nelson Obange, Harun Ogindo and George Wagah 2018
- Urban/Rural