THIS is the theme in the 2017 State of Food and Agriculture of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The report, its observations, and recommendations are most timely, especially for the Davao Region today, and local leaders can do well to learn from it.

This is culled from the worsening traffic situation, an apparent mass migration of people from all over, and the resultant congestion. Davao cannot afford to let this growth run roughshod over all our best intentions and development plans. Despite the surge in economic activities and people movement, Davao City in partnership with all other local government units (LGUs) have to remain on top of the skyrocketing growth and managing the growth of the city.

How and why?

The opportunities are vast, and everyone, including those in the rural areas stands to benefit.

"The reality is that rural and urban areas do not function as separate domains. Rather, from megacities to outlying rural areas, these domains act as a spectrum in which all areas are ultimately connected to one another. In sub-Saharan Africa, small cities and towns are important reference points for rural households because these are the places where they buy inputs, send their children to school and access medical care and other services," the report said.

"It is within this thick socio-economic fabric that food markets are growing today and, along with them, so are rural-urban food chains," it added.

This is not just about putting up plantation-type agricultural developments, this is about small farmers feeding the urban centers. The plantation-type activities, anyway, are not even intended to provide food for the population; they are there to fill a market, like our cacao and coconuts and bananas, and even the fresh greens that cater to the restaurants and hotels.

The everyday food of a growing population is the turf of the ordinary farmers and local governments should see this as an opportunity to rally their farm communities to work as a team to ensure a steady supply, and maybe even venture into processing. Today, more than ever, the rural communities should be able to respond and grab all opportunities that come their way, without necessarily duplicating the urban centers and creating the mass of unemployed and food insecure.

"The urban demand for more food, and for processed food, could be leveraged to create new economic opportunities for producers and agribusinesses within the rural-urban spectrum, boosting small farm productivity and revenue and creating off-farm employment," the report said.

The opportunities are knocking, the Duterte Administration has vowed inclusive growth, let both private and public sector take on the challenge and draw in the marginalized into an ecosystem focused on providing for everyone without moving people into the urban centers and straining the capacities of cities and town centers.