Consuming Urban Poverty Project

About the Consuming Urban Poverty project

The Consuming Urban Poverty project (formally called Governing Food Systems for Alleviating Poverty in Secondary Cities in Africa) argued that important contributions to debates on urbanization in sub-Saharan Africa, the nature of urban poverty, and the relationship between governance, poverty and the spatial characteristics of cities and towns in the region can be made through a focus on urban food systems and the dynamics of urban food poverty. Food has been largely absent from urban studies and urban policy, and the urban has been equally absent from food security studies and policy. Food is central to the health and well-being of urban residents, and yet food is rarely on the urban agenda. This is particularly true in Africa, which is experiencing rapid urbanisation in both primary and secondary cities. There is a knowledge gap regarding secondary cities and their characteristics and governance, and yet these are important sites of urbanisation in Africa. The Consuming Urban Poverty Project focused on secondary cities in three countries: Kisumu, Kenya; Kitwe, Zambia; and Epworth, Zimbabwe.The research involved three quantitative surveys: A retail mapping exercise, a food vendor and retailer survey, and a household survey. Qualitative in-depth interviews were also carried out in households across the three cities. A qualitative reverse value chain assessment was also undertaken, which traced five key food items (aligned to the food groups of protein, staple, vegetable, traditional food item and snack food) from the point of consumption to origin (or a point where no further information was available) in each city. The support of the Economic and Social Research Council (UK) and the UK Department for International Development is gratefully acknowledged. The project is funded under the ESRC-DFID Joint Fund for Poverty Alleviation Research (Grant Number ES/L008610/1).

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