- freely available
Agriculture 2016, 6(4), 65; doi:10.3390/agriculture6040065
2. A System Understanding of Food Supply and Distribution Systems (FSDS)
2.1. Cities and Regions as Complex Self-Organizing Systems
2.2. Cities as Socio-Ecological Infrastructural Systems (SEIS)
- Build on the discussion of food systems as self-organizing systems and on the urbanization consequences on food systems and on the resilience regional food systems resilience.
- Support the opportunities identification of FSDS policies suggested by FAO.
- Highlight key points towards a FSDS policy creation based on relevant issues of food systems, which besides the production and distribution process and markets structures, are dependent on the cities and regions structures in which FSDS are embedded.
- The development of an epistemic ground to understand FSDS assessing their characteristics and properties as complex systems, in order to evaluate the feasibility of using complex system methodologies to analyze them .
- The analysis of the document from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) “Studying Food Supply and Distribution Systems to Cities in Developing Countries and Countries in Transition—Methodological and Operational Guide (Revised Version)”  what we call “FAO’s Framework for FSDS Analysis” (FFFA) and other documents from the Food into the Cities collection using ST and SD approaches. This analysis includes the identification of the main stocks, flows, relevant variables and the system’s boundary of FSDS according to FFFA, the generation of system archetypes analyses, and the qualitative characterization of FSDS by two group model building sessions with FAO experts which resulted in an extended qualitative FSDS model presented in Armendariz et al. .
- The re-conceptualization of the extended qualitative FSDS model previously mentioned by simplifying, in a revisited FSDS framework model (Figure 3), its general structure and characterizing and analyzing the expected dynamics.
5. A Critical Review of Literature on Cities and Regions as Self-Organizing Systems in Which Urbanization Is the Dominant Trend. Results: FSDS Framework Model
5.1. FSDS Reinforcing Feedback Structures
5.2. FSDS Balancing Feedback Structures
- The FSDS mechanics are embedded in the field of Urban Dynamics: population, infrastructures growth and urbanization highly impact the FSDS organizational capability to provide food.
- Conceiving population growth as the main problem in effectively feeding cities (thus given the raise in food demand) is only one part of a bigger picture and does not bring any information on solving the problem. The way most cities are conceived and structured is what contributes to the system being unsuccessful on meeting urban food needs.
- Supply and Distribution Systems are just a part of a wider system. Urban, rural and peri-urban dynamics cannot be longer treated in isolation if the aim is to meet population food needs for the next decades.
6. Policy for a City-Region FSDS Governance
6.1. Key Points Towards a FSDS City-Regional Policy from a System Perspective
6.1.1. Structural and Operational Issues
- Structural issues: are part of the cities structures and the macro-systems constituted by regions, where water, land availability, population, infrastructures, laws, economic systems constitute the FSDS functioning structural limits.
- Operational issues: part of the FSDS and cities subsystems, which are mainly FSDS and public institutions administrative processes and management issues.
6.1.2. Scales of Intervention
- Global: international and planetary issues. New international economic agreements, transnational companies’ laws or behavior, climate change, desertification, water availability are example of issues at this scale.
- Regional: extended territory. Some national or country issues fall in this scale intervention. However, this scale exceeds traditional national boundaries and considers part of the macro-system where economic, biophysical issues, migration trends, rural development would be the focus. Illustration issues at this scale involve the B3 Ecological food print, B1 Territory carrying capacity, B7 Urbanization impact on economy and food demand feedback structures from the FSDS framework model (Section 5, Figure 3).
- Urban: city related systems considering the city infrastructure planning, technology, and administrative and institutional issues. R1 Urban Growth, B5 FSDS pressures on Urban Space, B9 Urban Planning and Markets Administration feedback structures from the FSDS framework model are examples of issues belonging to this scale.
- Local: municipalities and localities (neighborhood) systems where social norms, shared activities or processes, local infrastructures are relevant. An example of an intervention at this scale level is an employment program implemented at municipal level which impact the R3 Employment and food demand feedback loop from Figure 3.
- Individual: related to personal choices, preferences and the consumption habits out of education level, socio-economic status or culture issues. This kind of intervention can be illustrated by the impact on the demand of certain product due to the sum of consumers’ individual decisions, for instance, the meat demand can be decrease due to an education program on the ecological consequences of meat consumption. The change in meat demand would impact the variable “food demand at market level” of that specific product, eventually with the possibility of having an impact on B4 Food gap loop structure, always considering only what concerns to the product on which consumers made the consumption decision.
6.1.4. Production and Consumption Balances
6.1.5. FAO’s FSDS Policies Opportunities
- Economic Goal: efficiency and capability of the system to provide low cost food to low income consumers and food production incentives through equitable marketing opportunities for farmers
- Social Goal: minimizing food insecurity in poor households to achieve: improved equity from lower food prices; reduced social disruption, because supplies and prices are more stable; increased employment and income opportunities in the food sector
- Health and Environmental Goal: eliminate food-related health problems and minimize the FSDS activities on the environment by fostering: better hygiene conditions in the food chain; environmentally friendly and sustainable food production systems; better located, maintained and managed food market and processing infrastructure; better market and slaughterhouse waste disposal and use; better attention to ecological conditions of the city during planning.
7. Results and Limits of the FAO’s Policy Analysis and System Thinking Solutions
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|Promote Supportive Policies towards Agents * in FSDS **||Promote Private Investment||Intervene in Food Supply and Distribution Activities||Coordinate Public Interventions and Private Initiatives||Intermediate between Central Government and Private Food Sector|
|Policy-makers’ awareness to the needs of agents of FSDS (12) ***|
Involvement of FSDS agents in policy formulation and implementation (9)
Decision makers understanding on how to improve FSDS (12) ***
Strengthening representation of private associations on planning implementation (9)
Dissemination of policy goals and objectives (8)
Mission fulfillment and open, communicative and efficient behavior (9)
|Promoting rules and private sector responsibilities (7)|
Ensuring that norms and procedures are in line with investors’ expectation and capacity (6,7)
Enforcing laws, specially about contracts (6,7)
Providing basic infrastructure facilities and services (2,7)
Ensuring adequate management of utilities companies (6,7)
Ensuring efficient land, real state markets and land tenure security (6,7)
10 year forecast of land and production factors (1,3,12)
Identification of poor urban households (1,12)
Land use plans (2,12)
Provision of land tenure security and safe water (2,5,12)
Prepare rural-urban transport plans (2,12)
Design food market and processing infrastructure (3,2,12)
Food hygiene and nutrition rights (5,8)
Agro-inputs and chemicals use, safe solid waste (4,8)
Infrastructure facilities and services
Define markets infrastructure needs and slaughterhouses considering ecology (2,4,12)
Land allocation mode (2,12)
Design and manage FSDS infrastructure (2,12)
Maintain waste infrastructure disposal (4,12)
Training to traders and shopkeepers (3,12)
Levy taxes and markets fees (6,12)
Provide transport for FSDS (2,12)
Land occupancy use (2,7)
Control production, processing and marketing deeds (3,7)
Food quality standards (5,7), Meat inspection (5,7)
Hygiene and health in food processing (5,7)
Traffic management (2,7), Pollution control (4,7)
Enforce legislation on water (4,7)
|Seek legal reforms for public agencies roles clarifications|
Identification of institutional and departmental responsibilities concerning FSDS (11)
Ensuring through training motivation and monitoring that personnel is equipped to meet the growing food demand for efficiency and accountability. (8,11) ***
|Ensuring that the producers, processors, transporters, shopkeepers, consumers and traders are voiced within the central government (9)|
Complementing efforts made by farmers associations, NGO’s and local authorities in rural and peri-urban areas to lobby the central government in order to reduce productions constrains and strengthen rural-urban linkages (10) ***
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