Devising urban food security policy for African cities
This policy brief (PDF) by the Hungry Cities Partnership focusses on policy development to guarantee food security for urban families. The countryside is not the same as the city, yet too often policy confuses the two. The United Nations has framed food security solutions around production – focusing on increased investment in rural agriculture. Yet the contemporary food system is equally composed of production and access. Not only does there need to be enough food to go around, there also needs to be enough infrastructure in place to distribute it. If food security issues for the urban poor can not be solved now, then that challenge will only increase given the rapid urbanization that is expected to take place in the next 30 years. Most of this growth will be felt in Asia and Africa, and policy needs to be ready to handle population strains as cities are pushed to capacity. There are three main policy considerations for urban food security: 1) Informal food services are one of the few options for financially disadvantaged families. Food access policy needs to be created in partnership with informal economy actors to ensure that those who rely on informal systems are not ignored. 2) As household size increases, the likelihood of food insecurity grows exponentially. Adequate social protection programs are required to support household dependants including children and the aged and improve food security. 3) Secondary school completion is a specific milestone that significantly increases one’s food security outlook. Free primary and secondary school policies could return dividends in terms of nation-wide food security, and subsidized uniforms and feeding programs are a good starting point. Lastly, to identify where these strategies would be most effective, stakeholders should conduct surveys at the household level that involve inquiries on education, food affordability and household size.