Urban-rural linkages: Let’s revitalise the broken rural-urban linkages!
This meeting report in the Rural 21 Journal discusses the impacts urban growth will have on food security and nutrition, how it reshapes agricultural value chains and how small farmers can benefit from it. These were the items discussed by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) with Welthungerhilfe and SNV. Most of the fresh food in developing countries is produced and marketed in the informal sector which is often associated with a lack of regulation, insecurity and poor quality. However, these so-called wet markets have numerous advantages; food is fresh and cheap, and local breeds are used. Additionally, women dominate food processing, where they ensure quality. So concentrating only on achieving formalization in reshaping markets, will have an anti-poor and anti-women effect. Furthermore, the broken linkages between cities and rural areas need to be strengthened. Supplying the urban population with food offers huge opportunities for small-scale farmers. An example of a successful program that enables small-scale farmers to shift from cotton growing to horticulture and that links them to the urban markets was presented. However, numerous obstacles have to be overcome if these success stories are to be scaled up. Nevertheless, the wide range of opportunities for the involvement of small-scale farmers and rural areas as a whole should not be forgotten.