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Governance of Informal Food Vendors in African Cities

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LAUNCH: 2017 Global Food Policy Report
MAR 23, 2017 - 12:15 PM TO 01:45 PM EDT
Danielle Resnick, Senior Research Fellow, Development Strategies and Governance Division, IFPRI

Published in: Education
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Governance of Informal Food Vendors in African Cities

  1. 1. Governance of Informal Food Vendors in African Cities Danielle Resnick International Food Policy Research Institute Washington, DC | March 23, 2017
  2. 2. Urbanization projected to 2030
  3. 3. Informal food vendors play a critical role for both… Urban food security  Access for urban poor o Greater proximity than supermarkets  Affordability for urban poor o Food source for 70% of urban households in 11 southern African cities  Key source of employment o Especially for women Agricultural distribution  Retail of fresh produce, dairy, and groundnuts  Market segmentation of large- scale agribusiness o Nestle example, milk sachets  Strengthening domestic value chains o Especially in processed foods and drinks
  4. 4. Alternating periods of violence and accommodation  Colonial-era laws on street vending that are randomly enforced  Tussle over whether municipal councils or national officials have authority over management of informal vending  “Law and order” campaign examples: o Keep Zambia Clean & Healthy (2007, 2015) o South Africa’s Operation Clean Sweep (2013) o Nigeria’s Zero Tolerance Campaign (2009) o Malawi’s Operation Order (2006, 2015) o Zimbabwe’s Move the Rubbish Campaign (2005)  Vendors are arrested, fined, and/or have merchandise confiscated
  5. 5. Episodes of violence against informal sector
  6. 6. Why target informal food vendors?  Informal food vendors are worst affected because their merchandise can more easily “disappear” (see Roever and Skinner 2016)  Food safety is one rationale given for harassment and draconian policies o Food may not be handled hygienically due to lack of sanitation, water, or waste disposal o May increase risk of foodborne illness and associated micronutrient deficiencies o But epidemiological tests in some locales say the risk is sometimes exaggerated
  7. 7. How to manage the trade-offs?  Food safety certification o Training courses on safe handling practices in exchange for certificates to ward off police (e.g., Kenya with informal milk vendors, Nigeria with butchers’ associations)  Food safety mapping o Identification of hazards and sensitization of vendors (e.g., slums in Nairobi)  Restricted tolerance o Allowing vendors to work for restricted periods of the day contingent on the clearing of litter  Participatory engagement between street vendors and government in redrafting vending by-laws Source: Sohel Ahmed, IIED
  8. 8. Seize the opportunity  Sustainable Development Goal 11 on inclusive cities and the UN’s New Urban Agenda offer a chance for pushing urban food security forward  Focusing on urban agriculture is not enough o Need proactive incorporation of informal economy into policy planning on urban food security, especially given still limited structural transformation in Africa  Improving viability of informal economy may require segmented approach between megacities versus secondary cities and towns

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