Read at : FAO Newsroom
1 February 2007, Rome – The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has opened a new front in its battle against hunger and malnutrition – in the world’s cities where most of global population growth is set to take place over the next decades. “Urban agriculture” may seem a contradiction, but that is what FAO is supporting as one element in urban food supply systems in response to the surging size of the cities of the developing world – and to their fast-advancing slums – according to Alison Hodder, senior horticulturist with the Crop and Grassland Service. This year will be the first time in history that the world’s urban population – more than three billion people – exceeds the number of those living in rural areas. Currently, one third of city dwellers, one billion people, live in slums, and in many cities of sub-Saharan Africa they account for three quarters of all urban residents.
By 2030, some two thirds of the world’s people will be living in cities, according to UN projections, which also predict that the world’s population will rise to nine billion by 2050. “There will be a huge increase in urban populations,” says Alexander Müller, Acting Head of FAO’s Agriculture and Consumer Department. “Making sure they have the food they need will pose an unprecedented challenge.”
Under its ongoing “Food for the Cities” programme, an interdisciplinary initiative, FAO is therefore helping a number of cities to support urban and peri-urban agriculture so that they can increasingly contribute to the job of feeding themselves. The Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture Programme is a flagship of the FAO-Belgium Cooperation Programme with projects in different continents, and it is also receiving major contributions from Italy, as well as support from Norway.
Allotment gardens in Africa
Home-grown in Latin America
Media Relations, FAO