New! Brussels Briefing 48 Rural Urban Linkages

In this section, you may find new materials that have been published on the topic of “Strengthening rural livelihoods in the face of rapid urbanisation in Africa” , since the date of the event. We continually select major new publications and articles that add up to the policy points discussed in this briefing.

Rural areas have potential to feed and employ ‘younger, more crowded planet’ – UN report
United Nations, 09/10/2017

Long seen as poverty traps, rural areas are in fact key to economic growth in developing countries when pegged to food production, according to a new United Nations agriculture agency report released Monday. With ‘sweeping transformations’ that can unlock the potential of rural areas to help feed and employ a younger, more crowded planet, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report State of Food and Agriculture 2017 argues that millions of youth in developing countries who are poised to enter the labour force in the coming decades need not flee rural areas to escape poverty. “The overarching conclusion of this report is that fulfilling the 2030 Agenda depends crucially on progress in rural areas, which is where most of the poor and hungry live,” said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, in his foreword to the report.  The report says that between 2015 and 2030, people aged 15-24 are expected to rise to 1.3 billion, with the lion’s share being in rural zones. However, it continues, lagging growth in the industrial and service sectors in many developing countries will not be able to absorb the massive numbers of new job seekers – nor will agriculture in its current form. Rural people who relocate to cities will likely run a greater risk of becoming part of the urban poor, instead of finding a pathway out of poverty. Others will need to look for employment elsewhere, leading to seasonal, or permanent migration.

Better Urban Growth in Tanzania: A Preliminary Exploration of the Opportunities and Challenges
August 2017, Coalition for Urban Transitions

This report provides an overview of the institutional, policy and financing landscape shaping Tanzania’s urban areas, and summarises some of the social, economic and environmental costs associated with current trends. While recognising the historical and ongoing constraints on the Tanzania’s urban development path, this report al so highlights opportunities for the Government of Tanzania to drive a transition to more inclusive productive, inclusive and sustainable towns and cities.

Promoting integrated and inclusive rural-urban dynamics and food systems
knowledge4food.net, 1st June 2017

This policy brief (PDF) by International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) provides recommendations for creating synergies between different settlement types, leveraging rural-urban linkages, providing avenues for vulnerable groups to advocate for their interests, and supporting small-scale actors in food systems. One of the key messages is that greater attention to the specificities, complexities and implications of current urbanization processes is needed, in particular the role of growing towns and small-scale food systems actors therein. Coherence and integration of policy processes that cut across rural and urban areas is imperative. Additionally, the socio-economic benefits of working with small-scale food systems actors are often unrecognized and unrealized, but offer significant potential for promoting food security and nutrition in the context of emerging transitions. Integrated approaches – focusing on the needs of the most vulnerable people in rural and urban areas – will be essential to foster balanced and inclusive rural-urban transformations. Balanced, territorial and people-centred approaches that support the roles of local small-scale actors and the inclusion of vulnerable groups offer a viable model of working in the evolving contexts. Policy and investment frameworks must respond to the emerging complexities and the specific scenarios facing people in all settlement types along the rural-urban continuum.

Agricultural value chains: How cities reshape food systems
IFPRI, 2017

Rapid growth of cities is driving change in agricultural value chains—key factors include increased commercial flows of agricultural goods, diet transformation, and the large role of commercial markets in meeting urban food needs. Megacities in developing countries are transforming value chains for high-value crops and for traditional staple food crops. The “quiet revolution” affecting staple-food value chains is increasing productivity through: Increased investment in technology and modern inputs, including fertilizers and improved seeds, by farmers close to cities. Use of mobile phones by farmers to better position themselves in markets. Greater vertical integration resulting from the growing scale of midstream and retail sections of the value chain—such as cold storage, rice mills, and supermarkets.

Urban-rural links to ensure food security, benefit rural producers
downtoearth.org, 28 March 2017

Linking cities with rural areas will bring about improvements in food security and nutrition. It will also benefit smallholder farmers by ensuring their increased presence in urban markets. As developing countries witness rapid urbanisation (by 2050, 66 per cent of the population is projected to live in urban areas) and population growth, achieving global food security depends on robust rural-urban linkages, a new report by the International Food Policy Research Institute and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says. “Urbanisation is reshaping the landscape within which we must pursue the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture,” the report adds.

IFPRI 2017 Global Food Policy Report 
IFPRI, 23 March 2017

The world is rapidly urbanizing. How does this affect hunger and malnutrition? IFPRI’s 2017 Global Food Policy Report takes an in-depth look at the challenges and opportunities of urbanization for food security and nutrition. Critical questions addressed in this Report include: What do we know about the impacts of urbanization on hunger and nutrition? What are our greatest research and data needs for better policy making that will ensure food security and improve diets for growing urban populations? How can we better connect rural smallholders to urban food consumers to ensure that smallholders and urban residents benefit from expanding urban food markets? What role do informal markets play in feeding cities, and how can they be better governed to increase urban food security?