Most research on food security in Africa focuses on rural food security.  There are large gaps in our knowledge and understanding of the dimensions of URBAN food insecurity,  its causes, consequences and implications for the growing numbers of urban poor.   The evidence base is uniformly poor and needs to be created and integrated into policy work, curriculum development, public education and capacity-building. 

AFSUN's applied research programme is designed to proceed in logical stages from identification of the data gaps, formulation of research questions, development of appropriate methodologies and implementation.  The first output will be a review of the current state of knowledge about the links between urban food security and HIV/AIDS and identification of information gaps, needs and priorities.

AFSUN's UPCD project on Urban Food Security and HIV/AIDS will generate new knowledge about the urban food security situation in 11 Southern African cities and its links to HIV/AIDS vulnerability.  The programme of research will focus on the following:

  • The operation or urban food systems, including formal and informal supply mechanisms
  • Perceptions and attitudes of the urban poor, including women and children to food, nutrition and links to HIV/AIDS;
  • Impacts of HIV/AIDS on food security at the household level;
  • Gender dimensions of food security strategies at the level of the urban household;
  • Impacts of national and municipal legislation and regulations on food security  of poor urban households
  • Extent of urban agriculture and obstacles to increasing urban agriculture;
  • Impacts of food aid on urban households;
  • Case studies of extent and impact of key food security modalities e.g. school feeding schemes, land access, social grants.
  • Environmental constraints on urban food security and the dynamics of environmental vulnerability for urban food security.

 All research is planned and implemented collaboratively by ASFSUN partners.  As well as fostering regional and international co-operation, this ensures that a regional picture of urban food security begins to emerge and also allows for cross-city comparisons.

The results of the applied research will be disseminated through policy working papers and other publications and reports, the project broadsheet, community radio programming, policy workshops and conferences, and this website.