Urbanization, rural transformation, and food security
This position paper (PDF) by the International Agri-Food Network gives policy recommendations to meet the challenge of improving food security and nutrition in the context of changing rural-urban dynamics. Policies and interventions have to adopt an integrated approach to development, dealing with rural and urban regions not as distinct and isolated environments, but as part of a unified continuum of food systems. Therefore, the first recommendation is to leverage and expand dynamic rural-urban linkages to ensure food security and improved nutrition for all. Secondly, the development of off-farm economic activities in rural areas should be supported. The increasing vertical integration of agricultural value chains, as well as reduced demand for labor due to mechanization mean that farmer’s livelihoods may be undermined if they are unable to diversify into off-farm economic activities. Moreover, the sustainable intensification and integration of urban agriculture should be supported. One of the conditions needed for this is that the long-term security of tenure for land used in urban agriculture is ensured. Also, it is recommended that urban encroachment on rural and peri-urban agricultural land should be avoided. Finally, youth should be engaged in farming. This can be achieved by ensuring access to educational resources; implementing or expanding financial support schemes for young entrants into the agricultural sector; and engaging youth actively in rural agricultural development processes.