Photos: G.M.B. Akash/Panos and Sven Torfinn/Panos
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Two 2017 IFPRI and FAO reports suggest that strengthening food supply chains can immensely contribute to ending malnutrition and reducing poverty. Our author explains the complex interdependencies between rural and urban regions.

Rapid urbanisation, particularly in developing countries, is reshaping food security and nutrition in both rural and urban areas. Over half the world’s population now lives in cities, and by 2050, 66 per cent of the world’s population is projected to live in urban areas, with the increase concentrated in East and South Asia and Africa.

Urbanisation and population growth are expected to put mounting pressure on the global food system as agricultural production comes under stress from environmental degradation, climate change and extreme weather conditions. And as urbanisation has accelerated in some developing countries, so has the triple burden of malnutrition: the coexistence of hunger, under-nutrition, and over-nutrition in the form of overweight and obesity. Poverty, food insecurity, and malnutrition are increasingly becoming urban problems in all regions of the world. Child stunting now affects one in three urban children, for example. Among adults, the global rise in overweight and obesity had been concentrated in urban areas.

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