58 research outputs found

    No. 03: Pathways to Insecurity: Food Supply and Access in Southern African Cities

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    As in many parts of the world, supermarket expansion and control of food supply chains is having a major impact on the quality, quantity and price of food available to urban residents. Growing numbers of poor households in Southern African cities now obtain their food, directly or indirectly, from supermarkets. In most cities, these same households spend over 40 percent of household income on food. Supermarket expansion is also having a major impact on the informal sector. This paper reviews the changing nature of the urban food supply in Southern African cities, the role of supermarkets and the informal sector in food accessibility and the implications for the food security of the urban poor

    No. 01: The Invisible Crisis: Urban Food Security in Southern Africa

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    Over 1 billion people in the world are now undernourished. The current international food security agenda focuses almost exclusively on the food insecurity of rural populations and ways to increase smallholder production. The plight of the urban poor is marginalised in this agenda leading to neglect of the ‚Äėinvisible crisis‚Äô of urban food insecurity. This paper argues that the future of Southern Africa is an urban one and that urban food insecurity is therefore a large and growing challenge. The causes, determinants and solutions for food insecurity are not the same in rural and urban settings. This paper suggests that urban food insecurity needs to be urgently inscribed on the food security agenda of local and national governments, regional organisations and international organisations

    No. 08: Climate Change and Food Security in Southern African Cities

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    The current urban transition in the Global South is at the heart of discussions about the relationship between climate change and food security. This paper explores the links between climate change and food security within the context of the urban transition taking place in Southern Africa. Climate change is expected to negatively accentuate existing levels of urban food insecurity and these adverse impacts are likely to fall disproportionately on the poor. Researchers, planners and policymakers in Southern African cities are starting to explore how changes in weather associated with climate change are likely to affect urban lifestyles and systems. In order to do this, it is important to understand how climate science knowledge is used at the level of the city and how the impacts of climate change might affect city functioning at the metropolitan and household scales. One of the critical areas that has not been addressed in any detail is the extent to which climate change will affect the food security of the city and its inhabitants, especially within the context of high levels of poverty and widespread food and nutrition insecurity. This paper argues that it is important to understand the linkages between climate change and food security in Southern African cities to begin to design and implement pro-poor planning and programming

    No. 07: Rapid Urbanization and the Nutrition Transition in Southern Africa

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    The nutrition transition, including the presence of malnutrition and obesity in poor urban populations (the so-called ‚Äėdouble burden‚Äô of disease), is occurring in Southern Africa in the context of massive rural-urban migration and rapid urbanization. This seemingly contradictory situation poses one of the major threats to public health in the developing world, and impacts the poor ‚Äď and therefore the most food insecure ‚Äď to the greatest extent. This paper reviews the state of knowledge about food insecurity and the nutrition transition in the urban areas of Southern Africa drawing on existing studies and new research conducted by AFSUN. The paper lays out an agenda for future research on nutrition environments and discusses the implications of undernutrition and overnutrition for urban policy making on health and food security in the region

    No. 3: Linking Migration, HIV/AIDS and Urban Food Security in Southern and Eastern Africa

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    This publication seeks to establish a background for understanding the complex and dynamic linkages between urbanization, migration, HIV/AIDS and urban food security in Southern and Eastern Africa (SEA). As urbanization accelerates, direct food transfers from rural areas are increasing as poor urban households seek to reduce their vulnerability to high food prices and a cash-intensive urban existence. At the same time, urban households or individual migrants remit money back to households in rural areas both inside and outside the country of employment. A significant proportion of remittances are used for consumption purposes, including the purchase of food. These processes are underwritten by various forms of rural-urban, cross-border and circulatory migration. Migration has clearly facilitated the rapid spread of HIV in the SEA region over the last two decades. For a number of reasons, migrants and other mobile people are especially vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. The epidemic, in turn, is leading to new forms of migration, including children‚Äôs migration and return migration of PLWHAs (People Living with HIV and AIDS) to rural areas. Not only does this lead to a decline in remittances but it places a greater burden on rural households. Rural food production for urban household members may also be negatively affected by the impact of HIV/AIDS on rural producers. In the context of HIV/AIDS, migrants themselves may be unable to pursue other food security avenues, including urban agriculture. As HIV/AIDS creates both short term and long term intergenerational impacts within the framework of its long wave epidemiological pattern, the development context is changing considerably. In order to formulate appropriate policy responses, it is therefore imperative to understand the complex linkages and transfers of people and commodities which characterize the ‚Äúnew social economy of migration‚ÄĚ in the SEA. At the same time, it is important to understand the inter-related connections between migration and HIV/AIDS for two basic reasons. First, migrants are a particularly vulnerable group, both to HIV infection and to resultant food insecurity. Second, a disease which eats away at the fabric of the new social economy of migration will severely test the ability of urban and rural areas to provide a secure food supply for their populations, both at the aggregate and household levels. It is against this backdrop that this publication documents the key dimensions of the complex connections between urbanization, migration, HIV/AIDS and food security. There is an existing and growing literature on some of these connections; between migration and HIV/AIDS, for example, and between HIV/AIDS and rural food security. However, the linkages between HIV/AIDS and urban food security are less well-established. In addition, attempts to link both HIV/AIDS and urban food security simultaneously with migration are only now being considered, and this project is the first to examine these dynamics at the regional level. That task is rendered more challenging by the fact that migration itself has been undergoing rapid changes in form over the last decade. The publication is divided into three sections. It is designed to lay the foundation for further discussion and the articulation of a targeted action research agenda which addresses both the knowledge gaps and the policy and programming needs of the region in this field of development. This paper begins by reviewing the literature on urbanization and migration in SEA, showing how rapid urbanization is not eliminating migration but intensifying its scope and scale. The section also provides an overview of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in SEA and seeks to establish the reciprocal connections in the HIV/AIDS and migration nexus. Finally, the section reviews current evidence on the determinants of food security in urban areas. The second chapter focuses on the links between migration and HIV/AIDS, migration and food security, and HIV/AIDS and food security. Research on these sets of linkage is proceeding apace although much more is known about the impact of HIV/AIDS on rural than urban food security. The third chapter draws together these sets of relationships and outlines the key knowledge gaps and emerging research questions for the region. Although the research literature is not yet developed in this regard, various conceptual models have been devised to help understand these relationships. Although some of these models focus on rural food security and some on urban, this paper argues that the distinction is artificial, and that migration is the ‚Äúmissing link‚ÄĚ between the urban and the rural. Migration links the rural and the urban social economies and emphasizes the point that urban food security cannot be isolated from rural food security and vice-versa. Finally, the paper proposes some next steps in developing a fully fledged and policy-relevant research agenda

    No. 05: The HIV and Urban Food Security Nexus

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    Considerable attention has been devoted to the impact of the HIV and AIDS epidemic on small farmers and the food security of the rural poor. Despite the rapid progression of the epidemic in rural areas, it remains an ever-growing challenge in the continent’s rapidly-growing cities where prevalence rates are still higher than in rural areas. This report examines the reciprocal relationship between HIV and urban food security. Much of the research and most of the policy interventions on the HIV-Urban Food Security Nexus focus on the nutritional status of individual People Living With HIV (PLHIV). Other members of households with PLHIV also experience an increase in food insecurity as household purchasing power declines and nutritional needs increase. Urban food insecurity is a complex phenomenon and nutritional research and interventions on the vicious circle of HIV and nutrition need to be reframed within a broader socio-economic perspective that encompasses all of the various aspects of urban food security

    No. 08: Climate Change and Food Security in Southern African Cities

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    The current urban transition in the Global South is at the heart of discussions about the relationship between climate change and food security. This paper explores the links between climate change and food security within the context of the urban transition taking place in Southern Africa. Climate change is expected to negatively accentuate existing levels of urban food insecurity and these adverse impacts are likely to fall disproportionately on the poor. Researchers, planners and policymakers in Southern African cities are starting to explore how changes in weather associated with climate change are likely to affect urban lifestyles and systems. In order to do this, it is important to understand how climate science knowledge is used at the level of the city and how the impacts of climate change might affect city functioning at the metropolitan and household scales. One of the critical areas that has not been addressed in any detail is the extent to which climate change will affect the food security of the city and its inhabitants, especially within the context of high levels of poverty and widespread food and nutrition insecurity. This paper argues that it is important to understand the linkages between climate change and food security in Southern African cities to begin to design and implement pro-poor planning and programming

    No. 06: The Urban Food System of Nairobi, Kenya

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    Nairobi is a city of stark contrasts. Nearly half a million of its three million residents live in abject poverty in some of Africa’s largest slums, yet the Kenyan capital is also an international and regional hub. In East Africa, rapid urbanization is stretching existing food and agriculture systems as growing cities struggle to provide food and nutrition security for their inhabitants. Nairobi is no exception; it is a dynamically growing city and its food supply chains are constantly adapting and responding to changing local conditions. It is also an international city and the extent to which it is food secure is increasingly predicated on food imports from the regional East African Community and other international sources. Informal traditional value chains have a variety of actors and intermediaries that increase transaction costs and create an inefficient post-harvest procurement network, thereby pushing food products out of the reach of those who need them most. The majority of Nairobi’s food purchases are from informal food vendors. The city’s urban poor rely on the informal food sector for several reasons including that it provides food close to where they live and work, credit and barter are often available, small quantities can be purchased, and many items are sold more cheaply than at formal outlets. The leading income-generating activity for women in Nairobi’s poor communities is selling fruit and vegetables

    No. 21: The State of Poverty and Food Insecurity in Maseru, Lesotho

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    This report on food insecurity in urban Lesotho is the latest in a series on Southern African cities issued by AFSUN. Like the previous reports, it focuses on one city (Maseru) and on poor neighbourhoods and households in that city. More than 60% of poor households surveyed in Maseru were severely food insecure. While food price increases worsen food insecurity for poor households, it is poverty that weakens the resilience of society to absorb these increases. This report argues that Maseru residents face specific and interrelated challenges with respect to food and nutrition insecurity. These are poverty; limited local livelihood opportunities; and dependence on food imports. Among AFSUN’s recommendations are improved infrastructure as a fundamental precondition for meaningful development; the creation of livelihood opportunities within the food system; social safety nets designed in ways that promote economic growth and equity; and free movement of labour between Lesotho and South Africa, which would dramatically improve the incomes of many poor households. The Government of Lesotho and the Maseru Municipality and District can direct both aid and investment into an integrated food security strategy that prioritizes urban infrastructure, livelihoods, welfare and mobility. This takes political will, but the development and implementation of such a food security strategy is well within the reach of the country’s leaders

    The State of Poverty and Food Insecurity in Maseru, Lesotho

    Get PDF
    This report on food insecurity in urban Lesotho is the latest in a series on Southern African cities issued by AFSUN. Like the previous reports, it focuses on one city (Maseru) and on poor neighbourhoods and households in that city. More than 60% of poor households surveyed in Maseru were severely food insecure. While food price increases worsen food insecurity for poor households, it is poverty that weakens the resilience of society to absorb these increases. This report argues that Maseru residents face specific and interrelated challenges with respect to food and nutrition insecurity. These are poverty; limited local livelihood opportunities; and dependence on food imports. Among AFSUN’s recommendations are improved infrastructure as a fundamental precondition for meaningful development; the creation of livelihood opportunities within the food system; social safety nets designed in ways that promote economic growth and equity; and free movement of labour between Lesotho and South Africa, which would dramatically improve the incomes of many poor households. The Government of Lesotho and the Maseru Municipality and District can direct both aid and investment into an integrated food security strategy that prioritizes urban infrastructure, livelihoods, welfare and mobility. This takes political will, but the development and implementation of such a food security strategy is well within the reach of the country’s leaders
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