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Local governance to improve access to healthy food

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Danielle Resnick
IFPRI-FAO conference, "Accelerating the End of Hunger and Malnutrition"
November 28–30, 2018
Bangkok, Thailand

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Local governance to improve access to healthy food

  1. 1. Local Governance to Improve Access to Healthy Food Dr. Danielle Resnick, Senior Research Fellow, IFPRI | November 30, 2018, Bangkok
  2. 2. Why and how are local governments relevant?  Political, fiscal, and/or administrative decentralization pursued in over 80 percent of all countries(Scott and Rao 2011)  “Local authorities form a vital bridge between national governments, communities and citizens and will have a critical role in a new global partnership”(UN 2013) o SDG 11 has fostered the importance of “inclusive cities” o Cities at forefront of many global initiatives  Local governments can enable healthy food access through multiple channels: o Agricultural production o Food trade in informal markets o Food safety Source: Carbon Disclosure Project, Source: C40 cities,
  3. 3. Agricultural Production  Issue: Devolution of agriculture functions to local government increasingly common (Ghana, Kenya, Nepal, Pakistan, Zambia, etc.)  Enabling Role: Creating incentives to improve agricultural productivity, especially of nutritious foods  Challenges: Politician-bureaucrat conflicts, insufficient money and staff for agricultural extension, multiple tax rates across value chains  Options: Ensure produce taxes (cess) do not substantially deviate across space, entice quality staff to remote areas with incentives, reduce frequency of rotating extension officers Crop/value chain Kenya Tanzania Maize Ksh 583/ton Tsh 5,000-18,000/ton Sugarcane 4% 5% Tea 1% of hammer price 3% Coffee 4% 5% Cotton Ksh.286.5/ton 5% Horticulture 1% of turnover 3-5% of farm-gate price Snapshot of local produce cess levels in Kenya & Tanzania Source: Nyange et al. (2014) Extension staff still skewed to urban areas after devolution in Ghana Source: Resnick (2018)
  4. 4. Informal/wet market trade  Issue: o Control over markets often a local government responsibility o Major source of food access for poor & revenue for urban governments (e.g. 10% of Accra’s revenue in 2017)  Enabling role: ensure services in markets and security from extortion, theft, fires, and flooding  Challenges: low capacity, opacity in taxation, and erratic harassment  Options: mobile tax payments, earmarking of taxes for specific services Source: Fire at City Market, Lusaka Makola Market, Accra Source: Zambian Observer Source: Joy News Ghana Crackdown on Traders, Accra Source: Zambian Observer
  5. 5. Food safety  Issue: o Food safety hazards undermine nutrient absorption through illness o Very common in informal and wet markets (Roessel and Grace 2015)  Enabling role: Providing regulatory oversight and enforcement through hygiene training, food licensing, etc.  Challenges: Multiplicity of mandates across government entities, confusion over accountability among food vendors, low capacity to enforce  Options: Streamline responsibilities, identify “market leaders” to help monitor sanitation guidelines, develop scorecards to identify worst-affected locations to target enforcement Complexity of Subnational Food Safety Governance, Nigeria Tamale Central Market, Ghana Source: Resnick et al. 2018 Photo: Karl Pauw, IFPRI
  6. 6. Conclusions  Local governments are pivotal partners for increasing access to healthy food o But their capacities to do so vary across metropolitan areas, peri-urban communities, secondary towns, and villages  The importance of involving local governments is not always easily accepted o Cities can be sites of political opposition o “Recentralization by stealth” observed in recent years by national governments  However, local governments are best-placed to pursue territorial rather than sectoral-based strategies to improve healthy food systems o e.g. Johannesburg’s Food Resilient Unit and Food Empowerment Zones  Proximity to citizens enables them to foster a culture of “shared governance” through Town Hall meetings and deliberative communication on food-related public priorities