Creating a new menu for food security policy
The nature of food consumption and production is changing. In the past, rural areas produced food primarily for cities. Urban residents often consumed more than they needed, while the poorest rural smallholders often went hungry. Today, rural areas still produce, but they are also consumers, and poor city dwellers now also suffer from hunger. In Kenyan cities, for example, 80 per cent of the low-income populations suffer food insecurity; meanwhile, in Vietnam — one of the world’s largest producers of rice — 55 per cent of rural households are net rice buyers. Given these long-term changes, policymakers must look at food security issues through the lenses of consumption and inclusion, and recognise the crucial interdependence between urbanisation and rural development. Unless food policy reflects this shifting terrain, the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda will be put at risk.