“The issue of hunger in urban areas has long been neglected, as part of a more general neglect of urban poverty. And when the issue is covered, there are some glaring gaps in the analysis.
Why do almost all discussions of food and nutrition in urban areas in Africa and Asia:
- forget to mention that it is individuals’ and households’ inadequate or irregular incomes that are the main reason for hunger?
- forget to ask urban dwellers who suffer hunger what their priorities are?
- stress only urban or peri-urban agriculture as the solution when in every successful city, the possibilities of low-income groups getting access to agricultural land and water is very limited?
Some researchers and international agencies have begun to show more interest in food and nutrition in urban areas. This may have been spurred by data from many nations’ Demographic and Health Surveys that show the high proportion of children in urban areas who are underheight and/or underweight. For example, Siddharth Agarwal’s paper on the state of urban health in India and the paper by Marc Cohen and James Garrett on food insecurity in urban areas.
Low-incomes key to understanding hunger in urban areas
Almost all discussions of food and nutrition in urban areas in Africa and Asia forget to mention inadequate or irregular incomes as a cause of hunger. Many long, detailed and worthy publications on food and nutrition in urban areas do not even mention this – see for instance a recent paper on Food, Agriculture and Cities by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.: (for full posting see here)
This is a great blog posting, reinforcing my concerns about the continued privileging of urban ag in debates on urban food security. We need to understand how cities work and how people live, move and have their beings in cities.
Our work at AFSUN is making some headway in this, but there is so much more to be done (www.afsun.org)