Measures and determinants of urban food security: Evidence from Accra, Ghana
This paper (PDF) by IFPRI compares the food security status of households in Accra and examines the household-level demographic, socioeconomic, environmental, and spatial predictors of urban food security. The urban population in Africa south of the Sahara (SSA) is expected to expand rapidly from 376 million people in 2015 to more than 1.25 billion people by 2050. Measuring and ensuring food security among urban households will become an increasingly pertinent task for development researchers and practitioners. Results show that households tend to purchase food from traditional markets, local stalls and kiosks, and street hawkers, and rarely from modern supermarkets. Households generally do not suffer from insufficient calories. However, a clear majority of households in the sample experience food insecurity regularly. It is clear that these urban households regularly worry about having enough food and, at times, cannot access sufficient food to meet their needs. These results buttress the need for a greater understanding of how the food security challenges of the urban poor will cascade into broader food system. Throughout SSA, many local governments lack the institutional capacity to rapidly implement effective policies to meet the needs of the growing numbers of urban poor. Yet local governments do have options to shore up household food security. For example, our results suggest that ensuring access to high-quality education opportunities for all urban dwellers may strengthen food security in the long-term. But overarching urban policies in the medium term – such as transportation and water and sanitation infrastructure improvements – can reduce poverty-levels and disease-risk and may reduce vulnerability to food insecurity among low- and middle-income households. Through infrastructure and improved urban services, local governments can strengthen household food security directly by reducing the economic burden of procuring food.