Enhancing Food Security Through Urban Infrastructure and Services
Opiyo, Paul Otieno
Agong, Stephen Gaya
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This policy brief is informed by the findings of the ESRC-DFID-funded Consuming Urban Poverty project (formally called “Governing Food Systems to Alleviate Poverty in Secondary Cities in Africa”). Work in Kisumu, Kenya, was conducted in 2016-2017 and generated data on food security, food systems and governance. The implications of the project’s findings are presented here. The world’s population is growing, and more people are congregating in urban areas. In the second half of the 20th century, and for the first time in history, more than half of the people in the world lived in urban areas. By 2050, two-thirds of the world’s population and 56% of Africa’s population are expected to be living in urban areas.1 With the population shifting from predominantly rural to increasingly urban, feeding the growing urban population has become a critical development issue. However, policy makers continue to view food security as a rural issue, often ignoring urban food security challenges. The greater Kisumu region does not produce enough food to feed the residents of Kisumu despite the presence of large rice and sugar-growing farmlands in close proximity to the city. In Kisumu, food is generally accessed through purchases via diverse retail options. A reverse value chain analysis of five key food items consumed in the city (ugali, fish, vegetables, eggs and porridge) revealed that the main production sources of these food items were located between 75km and 150km away and, in some instances, key foods were brought in from even greater distances, often from other countries. This finding contradicts the widely-held assumption that cities, particularly secondary cities, are fed from agricultural activities in the immediate surroundings.2 Unless food security is urgently placed on the city’s development agenda, the long-term development and healthrelated consequences of food poverty place Kisumu at risk of continued food insecurity and long-term underdevelopment. One area where urgent policy focus is required is not often seen as directly connected to food security – urban infrastructure and services. However, when infrastructure deficits are viewed through a food lens, the need for critical policy interventions becomes clear.
CitationOpiyo, P.O. and Agong S.A. (2018) Enhancing Food Security Through Urban Infrastructure and Services, Consuming Urban Poverty Policy Brief 3, August 2018, Cape Town: African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town
Rights holderAfrican Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town
- Urban/Rural