Growing food for growing cities: Transforming food systems in an urbanizing world
This report (PDF) by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs argues that the global food system must transform to feed growing cities and that this transformation need to create opportunities for small-scale and especially female farmers. The growth of cities fuels an unprecedented demand for food, due to changing diets of people moving to cities, in combination with increase population growth, climate change. Feeding cities presents a major opportunity to improve the plight of millions of small-scale farmers and rural residents trapped in subsistence agriculture and joblessness. Participation in growing urban food markets can provide the rising incomes and rural employment needed to meet rural food security challenges, alleviate rural poverty, and address the devastating lack of jobs among the demographic “youth bulge” in low-income countries. Despite the opportunities, the transformation of food systems and the development of supply chains will not self-evidently include small-scale farmers. There is a risk that many will be left behind. The authors argue that it is critical that the development of the food system for urban demand includes small farmers and rural entrepreneurs in small enterprises along the supply chain. Inclusive growth will require smart and deliberate investments by governments and the private sector. While the report puts forward recommendations that are specifically aimed at the US government, they can inspire other policymakers since the recommendations and other lessons in this paper are broader applicable.