Resilient Cities Through Sustainable Urban and Peri-Urban Agrifood Systems


By 2050, more than two in three people on the planet will live in an urban environment, including over 5.5 billion in low- and middle-income countries. The agrifood sector is central to the complex set of challenges arising from this global demographic transition; including: feeding and nourishing expanding, largely poor, urban populations; reducing risks for human and environmental health from unsustainable food production, inefficient marketing, and unhealthy consumption; securing economic opportunities for the urban poor including women and youth; and strengthening the resilience of urban societies in the face of climate change and increasing inequalities.

Securing a future for productive, green, and livable cities with healthy populations is a global priority; countries in CGIAR target regions are struggling to keep pace with the implications of rapid urbanization, especially in an agrifood sector slow to respond, and are demanding technically sound, equitable, and scalable solutions. Agrifood systems need to transform to meet these challenges.


This Initiative aims to increase the resilience of rapidly expanding cities by strengthening urban and peri-urban agrifood systems within wider city regions in six countries (increasing to at least ten by 2030).

This will be achieved through:

  • Sustainable intensification of urban and peri-urban vegetable, livestock, and fish production and reduction of their ecosystem footprint through improved technologies, safety practices, and cleaner production sites to increase incomes of at least 2 million small-scale producers by 2030.
  • Vibrant, equitable, safe, and sustainable urban and peri-urban food market systems using improved technologies, business models, and decent work guidelines to generate economic opportunities and employment for at least 4 million women and youth in food production, trade, retail, processing, and service sectors by 2030.
  • Improved environmental and human health in urban and peri-urban food production, marketing, and consumption through improved risk assessment and risk mitigation, improved food safety, and better circular waste management to reduce health risks for at least 10 million people by 2030.
  • Improved food environments, consumer choices, and women’s empowerment to improve diet quality among at least 10 million low-income urban and peri-urban consumers (especially women and youth) by 2030.
  • Inclusive governance to enable urban and peri-urban agrifood sector growth using up-to-date evidence, broadly based accountability, and strong participation by diverse stakeholder groups in planning, implementation and evaluation processes in at least 10 countries by 2030.


Proposed 3-year outcomes include:

  1. Small-scale producers in urban and peri-urban zones access and utilize improved technologies and management toolkits, and guidelines for safer, more sustainable, and more efficient vegetable, livestock, and fish production. Reduced use of agrochemicals and increased availability of diverse, nutritious foods from less polluted urban and peri-urban environments.
  2. Local micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises in food processing, marketing, and agrifood service sectors access and apply adaptive business development strategies, improved technologies, and skills, with strong participation by women and youth. These investments generate increased employment and incomes, and help improve availability and affordability of nutritious foods among urban and peri-urban consumers.
  3. Public-private partnerships in urban and peri-urban settings adopt incentive-based business models to improve waste management and sanitation. National and city governments promote locally relevant and evidence-based risk management strategies for food system-related health risks including water- and food-borne and zoonotic diseases.
  4. Governments and their partners apply evidence-based urban and peri-urban food environment and consumption strategies and tools, including approaches to increase women’s decision-making power and technological and programmatic innovations that improve diet quality and nutritional status. This results in improved access, affordability, and consumption of nutritious foods.
  5. Governments and stakeholders from private sector and civil society co-develop urban and peri-urban Agrifood Action Plans based on evidence from the Initiative. Improved research and monitoring tools are available for planning and accountability.
  6. Agrifood Innovation Hubs are designed to support young entrepreneurs via entrepreneurial projects generating start-up agrifood enterprises.



Ten million low-income consumers with improved dietary quality, through increased availability and affordability of, and demand for, vegetables, livestock, and fish in urban and peri-urban markets. Ten million people at reduced risk from water- and food borne and zoonotic diseases, through improved urban and peri-urban risk mitigation from public and private sector investments.


Three million people with increased income and 2 million new or upgraded jobs applying decent work guidelines, through viable micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises in the urban and peri-urban agrifood sector utilizing improved technologies and business plans.


Strengthened stake of women and youth in the urban and peri-urban agrifood sector, and prioritization of women and youth in technology and business innovations, benefitting 2.5 million women through increased income from the urban and peri-urban agrifood sector and 1.5 million youth entering employment or starting micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises.


Evidence generated by the Initiative on climate adaptation needs and mitigation opportunities in the agrifood sector helps cities address their specific climate threats and contributes to global targets, including 7 million Mt CO2eq saved from reduced urban and peri-urban food waste and losses.


Evidence-based planning and investments prioritize improved environmental health both by reducing the ecosystem footprint of urban and peri-urban food production and processing, and by creating productive green spaces in cities, resulting in 7 million ha under improved productive use.


For more details, view the full preliminary outline


Header photo: Fatou Diouf is a fish seller at the Grand Yoff market in Dakar, Senegal. She specializes in shrimp, fish and squid. She sells her product every day for the last 15 years using bags of ice to keep her daily product fresh. She often attends online webinars to improve her business acumen and has gained the title as an “Agent Technique des Peche et de l’Aquaculture” from the “Centre National de Formation des Techniciens de Peche et de l’Aquaculture.” Photo by M. Cooperman/IFPRI.