Sustainable Development Goals: Strengthening rural-urban linkages is the key for India
This blog by the Financial Express argues that strengthening rural-urban linkages is the key to help achieve Sustainable Development Goal 2 (to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture) in India.The Global Food Policy Report 2017 highlights how rapid urbanization brings unique challenges to rural and urban areas, including challenges to agriculture and nutrition. Yet rapid urbanization also brings opportunities, as the rise in urban food demand can contribute to improved farmers’ livelihoods. To take advantage of these opportunities, strong rural-urban linkages are needed. These are the physical, economic, social and political connections that link remote areas to large cities through smaller towns and cities in between. Where links are strong, rural farmers can sell shares of produce in urban markets, laborers can migrate or commute to nearby towns for seasonal work. Leveraging towns and intermediate cities to facilitate economic and social connections between rural and urban areas, and improving rural infrastructure is crucial. Also institutional arrangements supporting participation of marginal and small farmers are needed to establish efficient and inclusive rural-urban value chains. A comprehensive policy to improve agricultural productivity, strengthen value chains, promote diversification and agro-processing, and reduce food loss and waste is necessary. In this regard, policy coordination across rural, peri-urban and urban areas will be critical.