India’s peri-urban frontier: rural-urban transformations and food security
This working paper (PDF) by IIED and IFAD examines rural-urban transformations in India in relation to changes in food production, access, consumption, nutritional quality and safety. In India, peri-urban areas are often neglected while many people here live in poverty and face increasing marginalization and food insecurity. Peri-urban agriculture could be a major contributor to poverty alleviation and food security. The authors demonstrate how now efforts to address malnutrition in India are decoupled from urban development initiatives and associated areas of policy and planning. In this light, the paper considers the potential of peri-urban agriculture to expand and support rural-urban synergies in environmental management through low external input peri-urban food systems. Currently the ability to realize this potential is undermined by competing development priorities, uneven power relations and complex governance arrangements. The paper shows examples of specific policies and programmes and considers knowledge gaps, governance challenges and mechanisms that might help facilitate pro-poor food security developments. The authors argue that for improved health and nutrition, a more holistic, food security-based perspective is needed. Policy and planning must support those fragile communities engaged in peri-urban agriculture while protecting the environmental services on which they depend. Forward-looking policy, planning and research will demand trans-disciplinary approaches and sustained engagement with peri-urban communities to establish adaptive environmental governance mechanisms.