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Short urban food chains in LDCs: signs of the past or of the future?

Moustier P.. 2013. In : Arnal Clément (ed.), Perrin Coline (ed.). Book of Abstracts: Innovations in Urban Food Systems, AESOP 5th Conference on Sustainable Food Planning = Les innovations dans les systèmes alimentaires des villes, 5e colloque AESOP sur la planification alimentaire durable, 28 - 29 October 2013. Montpellier : INRA; Montpellier SupAgro, p. 20-20. AESOP Sustainable Food Planning Conference "Innovations in Urban Food Systems". 5, 2013-10-28/2013-10-29, Montpellier (France).

The paper investigates the specifie features of short food chains supplying cities in LDCs in relation with the characteristics in terms of transportation, farmers' strategies and consumer preferences. It is based on author's surveys in Africa and Asia on the origin of food (mostly vegetables) sold in urban markets, traders and consumers' strategies on strategies of supply and distribution. Case studies are presented for Vietnam (based on primary data), Senegat, India and Brasil (based on secondary data and interviews with key informants). Short food chains are defined as chains with zero or one intermediary between farmers and consumers. The results show that, in line with the predictions of spatial economics, short food chains are dominant in the supply of perishable products, e.g., leafy vegetables, in a number of cities of Africa and Asia. This can be put in relation with the bad state of transport infrastructures, cheap labour force and farmers' strategies to get incomes from marketing. The dominance of short food chains diminishes when transport infrastructures to rural areas are improved, and urban development constrains access to agriculturalland, along with what has been observed in Europe. Yet there are forms where farmers and consumers are more active in ta king advantage of regular interactions, in particular to promote food quality and safety, in a context of growing concerns of consumers for their health. This is the case in Vietnam where shops held by farmer cooperatives have emerged and communicate to consumers on vegetable safety. This is also the case of a scheme of direct deliveries of vegetables to consumers organised by a socialresponsibility company buying from producer groups. The examples of organic farmer markets in Vietnam and India, and direct purchases by consumers to chemical-free farms in Senegal and Brasil are also described. The paper concludes with sorne specificity of short food chains in Asia and Africa, including the importance of health rather than environmental aspects, the wide diversity of types of policy support and of social capital involved in food chains. ( Texte intégral)

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