Document Type

AFSUN Urban Food Security Series

Publication Date



Balsillie School of International Affairs


Over 1 billion people in the world are now undernourished. The current international food security agenda focuses almost exclusively on the food insecurity of rural populations and ways to increase smallholder production. The plight of the urban poor is marginalised in this agenda leading to neglect of the ‘invisible crisis’ of urban food insecurity. This paper argues that the future of Southern Africa is an urban one and that urban food insecurity is therefore a large and growing challenge. The causes, determinants and solutions for food insecurity are not the same in rural and urban settings. This paper suggests that urban food insecurity needs to be urgently inscribed on the food security agenda of local and national governments, regional organisations and international organisations.