Food for the African cities of tomorrow
By the year 2020 nearly 60 percent of the population of sub-Sahara Africa will be
living in urban areas and within 20 years most of the African cities will see their
population doubled. The problems this urban growth raises for the food supply and
distribution systems (FSDS) in the cities constitute the theme of the programme-framework
presented by FAO in the Sub-regional Seminar held in Dakar, "Food Supply and
Distribution in French-speaking African Cities", over 14-18 April.
Watermelons on sale in a Cairo
The programme-framework "Food for the African Cities of Tomorrow" aims
at making the agents working for economic development fully aware of the future problems,
strengthening the national technical skills and professions involved and preparing
development programmes for the FSDS based on collaboration between the various categories
and institutions concerned.
The seminar on food security for African cities is organized by the Agricultural
Research Institute of Senegal (ARIS) under the aegis of FAO and will be attended
by more than 100 participants, particularly by the mayors of several of the largest
West African cities which include Dakar, Ouagadougou, Abidjan, Accra, Douala, Bamako
When demand for food increases in the cities, food supply and distribution systems
are constantly required to deliver produce from production areas which are becoming
more and more distant from their destinations.
Placing effective, well-managed services and infrastructures at the disposal of private
food sellers is now a matter of urgency. They must be given an appropriate legal
structure and all necessary support in order to allow them to satisfy, at a minimum
cost, the growing urban demand for food now undergoing continual evolution.
Dynamic and effective food supply and distribution systems are indispensable in improving
food security for urban consumers, particularly the most deprived, so that access
to the food and services required can be facilitated at reasonable prices. Meeting
the new demands imposed by urban growth; reducing economic dependence on imports
and at the same time strengthening food security; delivering produce to consumers
while creating employment in the distribution sector: these are some of the challenges
agents will have to meet in the course of the development process in the sub-Sahara
countries of Africa.
The World Food Summit held at FAO in November 1996 set a priority for improvement
in the efficiency of the marketing systems as well as in communications between production
and consumption areas, aiming to improve access to food, and consequently food security
,in developing countries. The FAO programme on "Food Supply and Distribution
in Cities" programme represents an important effort towards following up and
implementing the Plan of Action supported by the commitment of FAO member countries
undertaken during the World Food Summit.
FAO - ARIS Sub-regional Seminar
"Food Supply and Distribution in French-speaking African Cities"
Novotel, Dakar: 14-18 April 1997
This seminar, organized by ARIS under the aegis of FAO, aims at:
- developing the important role of FSDS in urban food security;
- emphasizing the constraints limiting development and the capacity to satisfy
the rapid growth in the demand for food in cities;
- defining the various possibilities of intervention from the public and private
sectors in order to improve the dynamism and efficiency of FSDS.
The seminar also proposes to promote contacts and exchanges of skills between professionals
in sub-Sahara Africa by organizing discussions among qualified work groups on particular
technical aspects. They will thus be able to share their direct experiences in the
FSDS of their cities and discuss the solutions proposed. This event is intended for
all concerned in the development of FSDS in the urban areas of Africa: mayors, locally
elected representatives, managers of distribution and wholesale markets, farmers,
shop-keepers, transporters, public administrators, researchers, directors of financial
organizations and money-lenders.
M. Olivio Argenti
Coordinator of Programme GCP/RAF/309
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00100 Rome, Italy
Tel.: (+ 39 6 ) 52 25 5119 or 52 25 20 05
Fax: (+ 39 6) 52 25 68 50
14 April 1997