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The World Food Summit held at FAO-Rome in November 1996 gave priority to the development of urban and periurban production as well as improvement of the efficiency of food supply and distribution systems and linkages between production and consumption areas. The aim of the summit was to facilitate access to food by low-income households and hence improve food security in developing countries and countries in transition. The Habitat II Conference in 1996 drew attention to high urbanization levels and the rapid urban growth rates in developing countries and countries in transition and stressed their direct relationship with urban poverty.

FAO’s initiative for “Food Supply and Distribution to Cities” addresses the relationship between urbanization, urban poverty and food insecurity. It focuses on the impact of urbanization on the efficiency of food supply and distribution activities and the need to stimulate private sector initiatives and investment. The cost at which food is made available to poor urban consumers is a key determinant of the level and stability of food prices and is determined not only by private sector activities, but also by public sector interventions, which are often carried out with weak technical and managerial skills.

This initiative thus constitutes a major contribution to follow-up and implementation of the action programme based on the commitments made by FAO Member States at the World Food Summit.

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