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

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.

Future Fortified is a special online series presented by Devex, in partnership with GAIN, exploring the impact and importance of food fortification to meet global development objectives. Visit the campaign site and join the conversation using #FutureFortified.

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About the author

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    Kelli Rogers

    Kelli Rogers is a global development reporter for Devex. Based in Bangkok, she covers disaster and crisis response, innovation, women’s rights, and development trends throughout Asia. Prior to her current post, she covered leadership, careers, and the USAID implementer community from Washington, D.C. Previously, she reported on social and environmental issues from Nairobi, Kenya. Kelli holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, and has since reported from more than 20 countries.

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