Report: Link Cities and Farmers to Feed Urbanizing World

April 26, 2016
The global food system must transform to feed growing cities, argues a new report by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and this transformation creates an opportunity to raise the incomes of rural farmers throughout the world.
The report, “Growing Food for Growing Cities,” will be released today at the Council’s annual Global Food Security Symposium and recommends that the United States lead efforts to invest in policies, infrastructure, enterprises, trade capacity and research to transform agricultural supply chains in low- and middle-income countries.
“Two-thirds of the world’s population – 6.3 billion people – will live in urban areas by 2050, creating a staggering demand for food,” said Alesha Black, director of the Council’s Global Food and Agriculture Program. “Delivering safe, nutritious and abundant food will be a challenge, but it also stands to be an enormous business opportunity for hundreds of millions of small-scale farmers and rural entrepreneurs, with potential to lift millions of rural residents out of poverty and address a devastating lack of jobs for youth in many countries.”
To supply more food to growing urban markets, supply chains must lengthen and reach further into remote production areas. This presents growth opportunities for others in the supply chain, such as wholesalers, transporters, processers and input suppliers, as well as larger companies interested in investing in emerging markets, including U.S. firms.
The report urges the U.S. government and U.S. businesses to:
  • Bolster earnings and opportunities in low- and middle-income countries through infrastructure development, land tenure, food safety and gender- and nutrition-sensitive agricultural policies;
  • Support private-sector investment by U.S. firms, particularly in partnership with local small- and medium-sized enterprises to foster employment and build rural economies;
  • Improve regional trade capacity and integration; and
  • Expand and strengthen investments in research on sustainable, efficient, safe food systems.
“The coming years will bring about a total transformation of the food system – from farm to fork. We must emphasize inclusive growth, especially of small-scale farmers who could otherwise be left behind,” said Dan Glickman, former Secretary of Agriculture and Cochair of the advisory group that informed the report.
“The United States has national security and economic interests at stake as the system changes,” added Doug Bereuter, the advisory group’s other Cochair, president emeritus of the Asia Foundation and former U.S. Representative from Nebraska. “Feeding urban populations has become an urgent and critical challenge around the world that demands our attention.”
The report launch at the symposium will be live streamed starting at 8:30 a.m. eastern.
The symposium also features speakers such as Tony Elumelu, chairman, Heirs Holdings, and founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation; Sanjeev Asthana, Founder & Managing Partner of I-Farm Venture Advisors; Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island; Rajiv Shah, former Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development; Ann M. Veneman, former Executive Director, U.N. Children’s Fund and former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture; Rodger Voorhies, Managing Director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and other thought leaders in global food and agriculture.
Symposium sponsors include Abbott at the lead level, Cargill at the supporting level and DuPont, Land O’Lakes, Inc. and RTI International at the next generation level.  Support for the “Growing Food for Growing Cities” study was provided by the Stuart Family Foundation. The report and symposium are also supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
This study builds on the Council’s global agriculture and food work that has informed policies on malnutrition, climate change, science and innovation, international development and non-communicable diseases.
Its signatories are:
Douglas Bereuter, President Emeritus, The Asia Foundation; Former Member, U.S. House of Representatives
Dan Glickman, Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture; Former Member, U.S. House of Representatives; Vice President, The Aspen Institute; Senior Fellow, The Bipartisan Policy Center
Catherine Bertini, Distinguished Fellow, Global Food and Agriculture, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs; Professor of Public Administration and International Affairs, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University
Marshall M. Bouton, President Emeritus, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs
Howard W. Buffett, Lecturer in International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
John Carlin, Visiting Professor and Executive-in-Resident, Kansas State University; Former Governor, Kansas
Jason Clay, Senior Vice President, Markets and Executive Director, the Markets Institute, World Wildlife Fund
Gordon Conway, Professor of International Development, Imperial College London
Gebisa Ejeta, Distinguished Professor of Plant Breeding & Genetics and International Agriculture; Executive Director, Center for Global Food Security Purdue University
Cutberto Garza, University Professor, Boston College; Visiting Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Visiting Professor, George Washington University’s School of Public Health
Carl Hausmann, Former CEO, Bunge North America
A.G. Kawamura, Cochair, Solutions from the Land Dialogue
Mark E. Keenum, President, Mississippi State University
Thomas R. Pickering, Vice Chairman, Hills and Company
Steven Radelet, Donald F. McHenry Chair in Global Human Development and Director of the Global Human Development Program, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
Cynthia E. Rosenzweig, Senior Research Scientist, Columbia University
Navyn Salem, Founder & CEO, Edesia/Global Nutrition Solutions
Barbara A. Schaal, Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences, Mary-Dell Chilton Distinguished Professor, Washington University in St. Louis
Paul E. Schickler, President, DuPont Pioneer
Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, CEO and Head of Mission, Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network
Robert L. Thompson, Professor Emeritus, University of Illinois
Ann M. Veneman, Former Executive Director, U.N. Children’s Fund; Former Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Derek Yach, Chief Health Officer, The Vitality Group
About the Global Food Security Symposium
The Chicago Council Global Food Security Symposium has been convened annually since 2010 to identify opportunities for U.S. leadership in alleviating hunger and poverty through agricultural development. The 2012 symposium served as the platform of the G8 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition and featured President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Bono, heads of state from Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania and Benin, and numerous business leaders.