Food for the Cities


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Food marketing and distribution

Once produced, food products need to be cleaned, assembled, packaged, stored and transported to urban markets . Rural markets, handling, storage and transport facilities as well as roads need to be in place and farmers, transporters and traders need to be made aware of appropriate techniques to prevent spoilage and contamination of food .

Efficient marketing infrastructure such as assembly, wholesale and retail markets and storage are essential for cost-effective marketing, to minimise post-harvest losses, to reduce health risks and to ensure an adequate stability of basic food supply. The characteristics of wholesale markets continue to change as retailing adapts to urban growth, the increasing role of supermarkets and increased consumer spending capacity. The conflict between traditional and modern food distribution arrangements needs to be addressed in order to minimize negative repercussions on income opportunities for the numerous formal and informal agents active in the food economy.

An important aspect for policy consideration is the role played by the informal commercial sector in making food available to low income urban areas and in generating income for poor families. This requires a positive attitude by the authorities and special programmes to facilitate informal food trading activities and to minimise any possible adverse consequences.

Selected documents

©FAO/D. Njie
Fresh produce on a supermarket shelf in Lusaka, Zambia.
©FAO/S. Gallat
Proper packing of fresh produce maintains quality throughout the chain from grower to urban consumer. Packages must protect produce from mechanical damage and adverse environmental conditions.