Tackling poverty and food security: lessons from India’s peri-urban frontier
In India, peri-urban areas are too often neglected. They are fraught with institutional ambiguity, unplanned growth, poor infrastructure and environmental degradation. Many peri-urban inhabitants live in poverty and face increasing marginalisation and food insecurity. Efforts to address malnutrition are decoupled from urban development initiatives, policy and planning. There has been a major decline in public funding and support for agriculture. Yet peri-urban agriculture could be a major contributor to poverty alleviation and food security. This briefing identifies specific policies and programmes that could support peri-urban agriculture in India. It examines rural-urban transformations in relation to changes in food production, access, consumption, nutritional quality and safety. To improve health and nutrition, a more holistic, food security-based perspective is needed. Policy and planning must support those fragile communities engaged in peri-urban agriculture while protecting the environmental services on which they depend. But to facilitate pro-poor food security developments on the ground, we also need a better understanding of the knowledge gaps, governance challenges and mechanisms that might help.