Urban food systems governance and poverty in African cities
This book (online version) from Routledge presents the findings of an international collaborative research project that aimed to improve our understanding of the connections between urban poverty, food systems, household food security and governance, by focusing on three secondary cities in Anglophone sub-Saharan Africa. As Africa urbanises and the focus of poverty shifts to urban centres, there is an imperative to address poverty in African cities. This is particularly the case in smaller cities, which are often the most rapidly urbanising, but the least able to cope with this growth. Results reveal the lived reality of food poverty for many urban households, including a lack of dietary diversity and frequent food insecurity. It stresses the continuing rural bias of national and international food security policy, one of the reasons why interventions are often inappropriate and damaging. It unpicks some of the complex interconnections between poverty, food systems and governance, and shows that urban food systems have intra-urban, city-regional, national, and international dimensions. Revealing the many links between formal and informal food supply systems, it strengthens calls for improved theoretical understanding of urban economies. And it documents how limited and inaccurate understanding of the complex interconnections between poverty, food systems and governance, professional preconceptions and political dynamics leads to interventions that are often inappropriate and damaging. The book argues that an examination of the food system and food security provides a valuable lens to interrogate urban poverty. This research shows that future work needs to overtly acknowledge and analyse the realities of political power relationships, examine the drivers and characteristics of changes in urban food wholesaling and retailing systems, and ensure that analysis and policy is gendered throughout.