Informal food systems and food security in rural and urban East Africa

IIED Briefing
PDF (191.54 KB)
Published: February 2016
IIED Briefing Papers
Product code:17336IIED

Urbanisation is reshaping the landscape of East Africa. By 2050, the proportion of urban residents in East Africa will increase from 25 to 44 per cent. This dramatic shift is transforming relations between rural and urban areas, particularly as they relate to food security. In urban areas, residents of low-income settlements depend heavily on informal food systems that have been traditionally ignored or penalised by governments. In rural areas, the impacts of climate change are heightening food insecurity and poverty. An emerging narrative views food security through the eyes of low-income~consumers in both rural and urban areas. It seeks to value the role played by informal actors in the food system, and to give a greater voice to the poor wherever they live.