Investing to nourish India’s cities
This report (PDF) from The Chicago Council investigates India’s challenges with regard to ensuring urban food security and the difference among urban resident groups in food security status. India is forecast to experience the largest increase in urban population of any country in the world. Cities are important for India’s economy and provide higher incomes, support increased consumption and access to quality food options. However, much of urban India is considered highly or moderately food insecure. The majority of urban residents do not achieve the daily intake of nutrition and the poorest urban residents consume on average 55 percent less than the wealthiest urban residents. For the most vulnerable urban residents, a variety of public health interventions and social safety nets are required. However, growing demand in urban food markets also needs significant transformation of India’s food supply chain. Today, India’s food system is largely unorganized and highly fragmented, inhibiting large-scale procurement, distribution, and retail sales. Substantial public investments are needed to expand and increase the quality of storage, handling, and transportation infrastructure. Value-added processing offers opportunities to mainstream micronutrients into the diet by fortifying widely consumed staples with vitamins, minerals, and iron to help address deficiencies. The government of India must continue improving the regulatory environment as a prerequisite to private-sector investments in vertically integrated sourcing, modern logistics services, large-scale food processing, and retail efficiencies— four critical routes to improving urban nutrition and food security in India.