Press Release 97/11

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Press Release 97/11

Seminar in Dakar on improving cities' food supply and distribution systems

ROME, 6 April 1997. - "By 2020, nearly 60 per cent of the African population will live in urban areas - compared with 50 per cent today - and most African cities will double in size within 20 years: to cope with this situation, they will need dynamic and efficient food supply and distribution systems (SADAs)," the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced today. A seminar in Dakar, Senegal, April 14-18 will take up food security in Africa’s cities.

"One of the main challenges in the next few decades will be how to efficiently distribute nutritious and low-cost food to the urban populations, and particularly to the poorest people there”, according to FAO.

"As the cities and shanty towns grow and urban traffic increases, the badly managed market infrastructures are becoming increasingly inadequate, making food distribution an acutely difficult problem in the urban areas. Food supply and distribution systems are having to deliver increasingly large volumes of food from ever more remote production areas."

This seminar is being organized by the Senegalese Institute of Agricultural Research (ISRA), under the auspices of FAO, as part of the follow-up to the World Food Summit (Rome, November 1996). It will be attended by over one-hundred delegates, including the Senegalese Minister for Cities, experts from the European Commission, the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Co-operation (CTA), CIRAD (Montpelier) the Club of Sahel, the German Agency for Technical Co-operation (GTZ) and the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute. Other delegates taking part will include University professors (Paris VIII, Bologna, Louvain, Abidjan), Governors of African metropolises (Kinshasa, Bamako) and the Mayors of Dakar, Accra, Douala, Ouagadougou, Pointe Noire and Treichville (Abidjan).

FAO will present its framework programme “Feeding Africa's Cities of Tomorrow” at the seminar. This programme, which is being co-financed by France, comprises two phases: a first phase (1995 - 1997) providing technical documents on different aspects of operations in African cities (in the "Food in Cities" series, which is also available on the FAO Internet site), and proposing an interdisciplinary method for analysing and designing programmes to develop these systems, followed by a second phase extending the project to every African country. This phase is currently under negotiation.

According to Mr Olivio Argenti, the co-ordinator of the framework programme, "the Dakar seminar will enhance the important food security in urban areas, identify the constraints that hamper its development and establish different ways in which the public and private sectors might help to improve its effectiveness."
The technical documentation is available on the Internet at the following site:

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