South Africa: Cities Often Hinder Food Security, Say Experts
All Africa reported on our session at the Carnegie3 Conference (article link)
“Cape Town — Rising food prices, changes in climatic conditions and the growing number of people without enough nutritious food featured at the top of the agenda at a session on food security at this week’s conference on poverty.
One of the initiatives the conference heard about was the Southern Africa Food Lab, which promotes conversation between small and large-scale farmers, researchers, civil society and government in order to develop innovative ways of achieving food security.
Milla McLachlan of the lab voiced the sentiments of many present when she noted the organisation hopes to “create a space for learning how to shift the dominant patterns and trends in a stuck food system” and that a “mindshift change is needed” by consumers, who need to become more aware of how their nutritional choices impact the environment.
Food security for people living in cities and towns was a recurring theme among the researchers and non-governmental organisation representatives.
Jane Battersby of the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town said a policy framework and funding to address the challenge of enabling poor urban-dwellers to get enough food was lacking at the city level.
Battersby also noted that cities often undermine the informal food economy by placing restrictions on fresh produce traders in some areas.
Gareth Haysom of the African Food Security Urban Network noted that urban areas are experiencing “a convergence of mutually reinforcing crises.” He advocated a review of the structure of urban food systems and how they work at the local government level.
He noted that cities often respond to food security challenges with unsustainable projects such as food parcels, which do not address the challenges of the food system.”
University of Cape Town