Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

I find that the scope is highly relevant as it highlights the role of informal sectors/markets aside more modern forms of distribution, stresses the role of UFS (urban and peri-urban food systems) in the resilience during crises, the role of public actions targeted towards the urban poor including food banks. It also calls for the documentation and collection of success stories of interventions allowing more contribution of UFS to food and nutritional security, less carbone missions, the inclusion and resilience of vulnerable communities.

I would suggest to extend the typology of informal and supermarket-driven food systems as proposed in a recent paper I wrote with a group of authors from Vietnam, Senegal, the Netherlands and France (see reference below : Moustier et al, 2023). We prefer to use the term « relational » rather than « informal » because the food systems are indeed organised according to logics of cost and risk minimisation and involve various commitments between partners. We argue that urban food systems involve the combination of at least six urban food chains: a subsistence chain, one short relational, one long relational, one value-oriented small and medium enterprise (SME)-driven, one value-oriented supermarket-driven, and one value-oriented e-commerce-driven. We identify overlaps, combinations and interactions between each type. Such diversity and interactions are keys to the resilience of urban food systems, yet they are not supported by public governance of urban food systems. We recommend interventions by national, regional and city authorities pertaining to regulations, resources and incentives, education and awareness, institutional capacity, mostly in support of SMEs and low-income consumers. As regards regulations, examples of successful integration of street vending in the city can be found in Vietnam (Loc and Moustier, 2016) or China (Dai et al., 2019) and Thailand. Regulations on advertisement are crucial to favour more healthy urban food consumption as evidenced in Ghana (Laar et al, 2020). The lack of basic market infrastructures and services, including credit and training on good hygiene practices, is an important constraint hampering food quality and traders’ business environment. As regards institutional capacity, governing urban food systems in an inclusive way is facilitated by establishing urban food policy councils/platforms, for example the Belo Horizonte Council for Food Security’s inclusion of government and civil society was crucial for its success (Haysom, 2015). Other cities of Latin America have set similar initiatives (see In terms of research, we highlight the need for more accurate and updated data on food consumption, food environments, foodsheds and food chains. 


Dai, N., Zhong, T., Scott, S. 2019. From overt opposition to covert cooperation: Governance of street food vending in Nanjing, China. Urban Forum 30 (4), 499-518.

Haysom, G. 2015. Food and the City: Urban Scale Food System Governance. Urban Forum 26, 263-281.

Moustier, P., Holdsworth, M., Dao The Anh, Pape Abdoulaye Seck, Renting, H., Caron, P., Bricas, N. 2023. The diverse and complementary components of urban food systems in the global South: characterization and policy implications. Global Food Security, 36, 100663 [with a corrigendon at]

Laar, A., Barnes, A., Aryeetey, R., Tandoh, A., Bash, K., Mensah, K., ... & Holdsworth, M. 2020. Implementation of healthy food environment policies to prevent nutrition-related non-communicable diseases in Ghana: national experts’ assessment of government action. Food Policy, 93, 101907.

Loc, N. T. T., Moustier, P. 2016. Toward a restricted tolerance of street vending of food in Hanoi districts: the role of stakeholder dialogue. World Food Policy 2, 67-78.