The good and the bad: Urbanization's effect on food supply chains

By Kelli Rogers 17 November 2015

Urbanization is an “attractive situation” for ingredient suppliers, the CEO and chairman of the managing board for DSM told Devex.

Continuing population growth and urbanization are projected to add 2.5 billion people to the world’s urban population by 2050, according to the United Nations — with nearly 90 percent of the increase concentrated in Asia and Africa.

It’s a fact Feike Sijbesma, CEO and chairman of the managing board for Dutch science-based health nutrition company DSM, knows very well.

The scale of urbanization in China alone is without precedent, with the urban share of the population expected to reach 60 percent by 2030. It’s an “attractive situation” for ingredient suppliers, Sijbesma told Devex, as losing food producers and gaining food consumers means more of the population buying processed foods with DSM ingredients.

But the urbanization is so rapid that farms taking over operations in rural areas often don’t have high enough food safety or quality standards, or don’t have the proper technology — another area of food production that DSM works to support.

The system itself needs further guidance and standardization — from the government, which stimulates urbanization, for one, Sijbesma told Devex.

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About the author

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Kelli Rogers@kellierin

In her role as associate editor, Kelli Rogers helps to shape Devex content around leadership, professional growth and careers for professionals in international development, humanitarian aid and global health. As the manager of Doing Good, one of Devex's highest-circulation publications, she is constantly on the lookout for the latest staffing changes, hiring trends and tricks for recruiting skilled local and international staff for aid projects that make a difference. Kelli has studied or worked in Spain, Costa Rica and Kenya.


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