Urban Food Systems Governance and Poverty in African Cities - (Open Access): 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Urban Food Systems Governance and Poverty in African Cities - (Open Access)

1st Edition

Edited by Jane Battersby, Vanessa Watson


268 pages | 41 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2018-08-20
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As Africa urbanises and the focus of poverty shifts to urban centres, there is an imperative to address poverty in African cities. This is particularly the case in smaller cities, which are often the most rapidly urbanising, but the least able to cope with this growth. This book argues that an examination of the food system and food security provides a valuable lens to interrogate urban poverty. Chapters examine the linkages between poverty, urban food systems and local governance with a focus on case studies from three smaller or secondary cities in Africa: Kisumu (Kenya), Kitwe (Zambia) and Epworth (Zimbabwe).

The book makes a wider contribution to debates on urban studies and urban governance in Africa through analysis of the causes and consequences of the paucity of urban-scale data for decision makers, and by presenting potential methodological innovations to address this paucity. As the global development agenda is increasingly focusing on urban issues, most notably the urban goal of the new Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda, the work is timely.

The Open Access version of this book, available at: http://www.tandfebooks.com/doi/view/10.4324/9781315191195, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.


"From the outset, it was recognised that household livelihoods cannot be understood in isolation from the wider economic and political linkages that provide or constrain household choices related to income earning, consumption, land and housing tenure, access to services and political participation. For some years, too little attention was given to these wider links, including the environmental and governance systems that influence water supply and waste management, energy supply and, indeed, food. Gradually, more attention has been given to them and it is in the latter area that this book makes its path-breaking contribution.

…I look forward to this team and others taking forward the research, policy and practice work identified. This research shows that future work needs to overtly acknowledge and analyse the realities of political power relationships, examine the drivers and characteristics of changes in urban food wholesaling and retailing systems, and ensure that analysis and policy is gendered throughout." taken from the Foreword by Carole Rakodi, University of Birmingham, UK

"This book is a game changer and should be compulsory reading for anyone concerned about the future of Africa. Battersby and Waston skillfully draw together the threads of urbanization, governance and food systems to weave a compelling argument for why food and nutrition are central to the future well-being of billions of urban Africans yet to be born. If you believe that Africa’s future is the rural life, read this book – it will change your mind!" - Bruce Frayne, University of Waterloo, Canada

"An essential contribution to the critical and much needed re-framing of the role of food and nutrition security in urban poverty in low and middle income countries. This book provides new evidence on the links between household food security, rapidly evolving food systems and the still inadequate governance of food in urban contexts. It makes a strong, carefully argued case for the integration of food in global agendas, from the SDGs to the New Urban Agenda." - Cecilia Tacoli, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), UK

"This book is destined to be a key reference in the emerging field of urban food security, and I highly recommend it (in its entirety or specific chapters) for upper level undergraduate and graduate seminars in development studies, urban studies and food related courses. The book will challenge students to think about food security and urban planning anew." - William G Moseley in Urban Studies (Sept 2019). Full review available here: https://www.urbanstudiesonline.com/resources/resource/book-review-urban-food-systems-governance-and-poverty-in-african-cities/

Table of Contents

Foreword by Carole Rakodi



1. African urbanization and poverty

Muna Shifa and Jackie Borel-Saladin

2. Rural bias and urban food security

Jonathan Crush and Liam Riley

3. Linking urban food security, urban food systems, poverty and urbanization

Jane Battersby and Gareth Haysom

4. Understanding and addressing poverty, labour force and urbanization data gaps in Sub-Saharan Africa

Jackie Borel-Saladin, Muna Shifa and Ann Donald


5. Historical Urban Food Governance in Africa: The Case of Kenya, c. 1900 to 1950

James Duminy

6. Urban food governance and planning in Africa

Warren Smit

7. Contributing and yet excluded? Informal food retail in African cities

Caroline Skinner

8. Planning and Governance of Food Systems in Kisumu, Kenya

Patrick Odhiambo Hayombe, Fredrick Omondi Owino, and Frankline Awuor Otiende

9. Planning and Governance of Food Systems in Kitwe, Zambia: a case study of food retail space

Jane Battersby and Francis Muwowo

10. Governance of Food Systems in Epworth, Zimbabwe

Easther Chigumira, Godfrey Tawodzera, Oliver Manjengwa, and Idah Mbengo

11. Urban food production in Harare, Zimbabwe

Percy Toriro


12. Food value chains in Kisumu, Kitwe and Epworth: Environmental and Social Hotspots

Lesley Sibanda and Harro von Blottnitz

13. The characteristics of the urban food system in Kisumu, Kenya

Paul Opiyo and Harun Ogindo

14. The characteristics of the urban food system in Kitwe, Zambia: A focus on the retail sector

Issahaka Fuseini, Jane Battersby, and Niraj Jain

15. The characteristics of the urban food system in Epworth, Zimbabwe

Godfrey Tawodzera, Easther Chigumira, Idah Mbengo and Samuel Kusangaya


16. Food poverty in Kisumu, Kenya

George Godwin Wagah, Nelson Obange, and Harun Ogindo

17. Food poverty in Kitwe, Zambia

Issahaka Fuseini and Owen Sichone

18. Food poverty in Epworth, Zimbabwe

Godfrey Tawodzera and Easther Chigumira

About the Editors

Jane Battersby is a senior researcher at the African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town, South Africa, and is the Research Coordinator of the ESRC/DFID-funded Consuming Urban Poverty project and PI of the IDRC-funded Nourishing Spaces Project. She is the Laurete of the Premio Daniel Carasso 2017. An urban geographer by training, her work focusses on urban food security, food systems and governance.

Vanessa Watson is a Professor of City Planning and Fellow of the University of Cape Town, South Africa. She holds degrees, including a PhD, from South African Universities and the Architectural Association of London, UK, and is on the executive committee of the African Centre for Cities. She is the PI of the ESRC/DFID-funded Consuming Urban Poverty project.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Food, Society and the Environment

This series includes a wide range of inter-disciplinary approaches to food, society and the environment. It includes textbooks, research monographs and titles aimed at professionals, NGOs and policy-makers. Authors or editors of potential new titles should contact Hannah Ferguson, Editor ([email protected]).

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
NATURE / Ecology
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / Urban