Food (in)security in rapidly urbanising, low-income contexts
This article in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health describes how, for the urban poor in low and middle-income countries, food affordability and utilization are shaped by the income and non-income dimensions of poverty that include the urban space. Urbanization in low and middle-income nations presents both opportunities and immense challenges. There is limited knowledge of how these challenges affect the ways in which poor urban residents gain access to food and secure healthy and nutritious diets. Current discussions on food security continue to focus on production, with limited attention to consumption. The article finds that at the household level, access to food is determined largely by affordability, that is, by incomes. Equally important, however, are the availability of time to purchase and prepare food and of space to cook and store food and the location of selling points. Additionally, living in slums has important implications for health and access to initiatives like nutrition programs. Hazards and risks play at both household and and neighborhood level, for example lack of sanitation in crowded settlements. Local governments have an important role to play in urban food systems. However, local governments need support from national governments if they are to fulfill their responsibility to provide their populations with the basic services and infrastructure needed for urban living. The authors conclude that perhaps what is most necessary is acknowledging that urban food insecurity and urban poverty need to be a central concern at all levels of governance, from the local to the global.