Climate Crisis Threatens Urban Food Security
02 April, 2013
Policies that focus on rural food production alone will not tackle the rising food insecurity in urban areas, says a report published on April 2, 2013 by the International Institute for Environment and Development*.
The report said:
Policies to increase food security in the global South focus too much on rural food production and not enough on ensuring poor people can access and afford food, especially in urban areas.
The IIED report warned:
Climate crisis will only worsen this policy gap, as the crisis will affect not only harvests but also the systems that people use to transport, store and buy and sell food.
“Food security is back on the agenda thanks to rising prices and the threat that climate change poses to agricultural production,” said the report’s author Dr Cecilia Tacoli.
Dr. Tacoli said: “But policies that focus on rural food production alone will not tackle the rising food insecurity in urban areas. We also need policies that improve poor people’s ability to access and afford food, especially in urban areas.”
Most of the urban people buy food. This puts the urban poor particularly at risk. Any climate-induced disruption to food production, transport and storage – either in the urban area itself or in distant farmland – can affect food supplies and prices in urban areas. Yet most policies that aim to increase food security focus solely on boosting production from farms and fisheries in rural areas.
“The journey that food takes from a rural producer to an urban consumer involves many steps,” says Dr Tacoli. “It must travel through formal and informal systems as it is stored, distributed and sold. Each one of these steps is a point of potential vulnerability to climate change. For consumers, this will mean sharp and sudden increases in food prices”
The report highlights the link between income poverty and food insecurity in urban areas. For most low-income urban citizens food represents a sizeable portion of the money they spend. Even small increases in price would therefore have big impacts of food security, with citizens reducing the amount and quality of the food they buy.
* One World South Asia, Apr. 2, 2013, “Climate change threatens urban food security: report”,
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