Markets that are more profitable can lead to the concentration of food production in large commercial farms, to value chains dominated by large processors and retailers, and to the exclusion of smallholders.

Policies need to focus on family farmers, infrastructure and small cities

The study lays out three lines for action:

The first involves putting in place a range of policies designed to ensure that small-scale producers are able to participate fully in meeting urban food demands. Measures to strengthen land tenure rights, ensure equity in supply contracts, or improve access to credit are but a few options.

The second is to build up the necessary infrastructure to connect rural areas and urban markets — in many developing countries the lack of rural roads, electrical power grids, storage facilities, and refrigerated transportation systems is a major bottleneck for farmers seeking to take advantage of urban demand for fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and dairy produce.

The third involves including not just mega-cities in well-connected rural-urban economies but knitting-in smaller, more spread-out urban areas as well.