Feeding Africa’s cities: agri’s future focus

  • 16 September 2020
  • 1929
  •  Senwes
  •  news

These opportunities, along with predicted challenges and suggested policy interventions - with regard to accessing these urban food markets - are set out in the 2020 Africa Agriculture Status Report (AASR). The report, as coordinated and published by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), was released on 8 September 2020 and is aptly themed: Feeding Africa’s Cities.

The report puts it that smallholder agriculture should progressively focus on urban food markets, in order to position domestic suppliers as competitive, responsive and safe; to provide the right inputs to those markets; and continue to grow opportunities for young people within the agriculture sector. In short: agricultural value chains should adapt its traditional view of food systems and markets to drive food security, rural prosperity and inclusive economic growth.

New voices within the agricultural sector

According to Dr Agnes Kalibata, AGRA President, this process of adaptation includes the inclusion of new voices within the agricultural sector.

It is his opinion that the rapid rate of urbanisation is shifting the centre of gravity in Africa’s agri-food systems and as such a cohort of new, non-traditional voices must join the conversation with regards to agricultural policy. These voices include, among others: city planners, mayors, district councils, trade organisations and public health professionals.

Overcoming the problem of urban under-nutrition

While recognising the debilitating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and its role in exacerbating existing economic and social inequalities, the report defines five focus areas in a bid to overcome the problem of urban under-nutrition.

The focus areas are:

  • Improved urban food system governance
  • Efficient urban wholesale markets
  • Food safety regulation and enforcement
  • Regional free trade and agricultural policy harmonisation
  • Agricultural research focused on high-growth, high-value food commodities.

In addition to this, the report also highlights the importance of domestic food distribution systems, intra-African trade and food safety.

The report draws the conclusion that improved governance, performance and collaboration within the urban food system will create new and exciting opportunities for the continent’s farmers.

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