The impact of urbanization on food systems and policy: 2017 Global Food Policy Report now out

Today, IFPRI released one of its annual flagship publications: the 2017 Global Food Policy Report, an evidence-based analysis of the latest developments in food policy across the developing world. This year's report examines how urbanization is changing food systems, health, and development. It features chapters on the importance of investing in rural-urban linkages and value chains; the increasing shift of poverty, food security, and nutrition issues from rural areas to cities; the urban food environment's influence on diets; and the role of the informal sector in feeding Africa's urbanites. 

The chapter on regional developments in Africa confirms that, while measures of poverty, hunger, and malnutrition have improved steadily throughout Africa south of the Sahara, many African countries continued to face low commodity prices and limited external finance in 2016.

A continent-wide campaign known as “Seize the Moment” kicked off to accelerate efforts of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) to raise investments in agriculture in the region. But the impacts of severe drought, climate change, conflict, and rapid urbanization will create ongoing challenges in 2017. Namely, the 2015–2016 El Niño event, one of the strongest on record, caused severe drought in southern and eastern Africa as well as flooding in parts of eastern Africa. Its impacts on global weather patterns continue to affect agricultural production and food security, resulting in poor harvests in 2016, and consequently, rising food prices.

As of November 2016, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) projected that 41 million people in southern Africa would be affected by the drought in 2016–2017, of whom 28 million were already in need of immediate humanitarian assistance. The drought highlighted the urgent need to increase the resilience of communities and countries, given the increasing frequency of climate shocks. SADC’s Regional Humanitarian Appeal described progress made in establishing national resilience strategies in Malawi, Lesotho, and Zimbabwe, and called for further efforts to enhance resilience.


Visit IFPRI's new interactive website to learn more and download the full 2017 GFPR.