Agriculture in an urbanizing society

Research on multifunctional agriculture and changing urban-rural relations is highly fragmented,  both disciplinarily and geographically, which is due to the multiplicity of activities, the multi-scalar character of multifunctionality and the geographical contextuality of expressions of multifunctional agriculture. Hence, this conference aims to advance the scientific state of the art in research on multifunctional agriculture and urban-rural relations by bringing together scholars from a wide range of disciplines (sociology, economics, spatial planning, land-use planning, regional planning, urban planning, crop sciences, animal sciences, soil sciences, architecture, etc.) from many parts of the world. rking group convenors of the conference invite you to submit abstracts for the April 2012 conference in Wageningen, The Netherlands. 20 different working groups will be organised during the conference. Deadline for submitting abstracts is 20 December 2011. IN WG 14 the topic will be: Public food procurement. Most schools, colleges , universities, hospitals , prisons and other public institutions  receive their food supplies from different  sources and programmes. Countries have different structures and  indicators of success. They also face different problems, challenges and sustainability is a question. Producers’ views and how food is purchased also varies. It is important to show value for money, volume and types of food purchased by the programmes to improve livelihoods, nutrition, health and reduce poverty in selected regions. Are there existing policies, guidelines and plans for public food procurement? Who are the actors and how do they adhere to the rules and regulations?
Worldwide, school feeding programmes are a common concern and have similarities and or differences. A reflection on aid effectiveness and sustainability reveals challenges in especially resource limited countries. It is a concern to relate how decisions are made for public food procurement and priorities set  for resource allocation. Whose responsibility is it (donors, international agencies, national and local governments, farmers and individuals) and therefore the sharing of experiences on programmes is important for ensuring sustainable food security. For one of the millennium development goals focuses on sustainable development.
It is known that rural areas produce food for the cities, yet in some countries urbanisation is fast growing, with the youths migrating to cities and food production going down. In addition, climatic change is impacting on the food security, how is public food procurement going to be sustained to improve smallholder agriculture?  For most home grown school feeding programmes are meant to support  these small farmers and improve their household incomes.
As a result food systems and chains can be changed and transformed by agencies and states/ local governments. Agricultural crises are affecting food production and the economic crunch is leading to high food prices which makes a significant drawing to public food procurement channels. What would be the effective measures for ensuring  sustainability? What are the supply chains and  demand likely to be met as the world changes?

Abstracts for this working group can be submitted to:
Juliet Kiguli | Makerere University, Uganda | jkiguli2002@yahoo.com
Convenors:
Juliet Kiguli                  Makerere University, Uganda
Nashiru Sulemana        University for Development Studies, Ghana    
Kevin Morgan               Cardiff University, United Kingdom

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