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Reuters Africa: No set menu to feed cities’ growing appetite

Yet despite the benefits of urban farming, simply boosting the numbers of city farmers will not guarantee that cities can feed everyone or protect their food supply, experts say.

By Astrid Zweynert
Reuters Africa
May 15, 2017


“Local agricultural production has to be part of a diverse food system to become a reliable secure food source for growing urban populations,” Pay Drechsel of the International Water Management Institute in Colombo told the Bonn conference.

Migration from rural areas to fast-growing cities in the developing world adds more complexity as an increasing number of people living in informal settlements and slums turn to urban farming, studies have shown.

City planners face many other challenges due to the labyrinth of formal and informal food markets, and often lack a clear jurisdiction or mandate to manage food systems.

Another barrier is that policymakers tend to divide people into rural or urban, a classification that ignores the many links between the two, including flows of people, goods, money and services.

“Food systems have to be part of a sustainable city plan that creates regional linkages because food is so connected to other critical issues, like health and social cohesion,” said Tori Okner, a food expert at ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, a network of 1,500 cities, towns and regions.

Read the complete article here.