© University of Greenwich
© University of Greenwich
A feature of the urbanization process has been the development of informal food supply systems. Resource-poor groups have developed livelihood strategies with limited capital assets to meet opportunities in urban areas. This is typified by the increase in ready-to-eat food prepared and sold by street food vendors. However, while street food vending can be an effective way of providing low cost nutrition to urban populations, it can also pose risks to health, in particular for the young, the elderly and those with HIV/AIDS.
A brief history of the projects and how the approach evolved
There have been four projects on street food and informally vended foods that have been funded by the DFID Crop Post Harvest Programme. These projects have been either managed or jointed managed by NRI in collaboration with over 22 over partner organisations in Africa (Ghana, Zambia and Zimbabwe) and South Asia (India). The first project was a one year preliminary study in Accra, Ghana (1999 to 2000). This was initially primarily a food safety investigation but the project team decided to focus resources on determining the importance of the sector to the urban economy of Accra with a smaller food safety survey.These findings were disseminated to policy makers at the local and national government level who subsequently formed a street food working group consisting of policy makers in Ghana to provide support to the sector and improve consumer health. This project was followed by a second one in Ghana (2002 to 2004) that sought to formalise the development of the coalition partnership using the innovation systems approach. This approach was a natural progression from the earlier project and was also formerly part of the DFID Crop Post Harvest Programme strategy for research proposals. A third project (2002 to 2004) on informal vended foods was simultaneously funded by the programme in Zambia and Zimbabwe. Coalition partnerships in Harare and Lusaka sought to carryout action research to explore the issues of government support for unlicensed vendors, economic decline, rapid urbanisation, high unemployment and the impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Recently a fourth project (2005 to 2006) is seeking to combine the experiences and knowledge gain previously in Ghana, Zambia and Zimbabwe while at the same time introducing a fourth coalition partnership in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), India. The four coalitions will use the ‘knowledge management’ approach to explore ways that institutions and organisations manage and share knowledge. They will jointly develop a series of ‘modules’ that document the food safety management approach developed by the coalitions to facilitate other towns and cities who wish to explore ways of improving the livelihoods of vendors and consumer health.
Projects on street food and informally vended foods
- Project 1: (one year; 1999 to 2000): Ghana
- Project 2: (two years; 2002 to 2004): Ghana
- Project 3: (two years; 2002 to 2004): Zambia and Zimbabwe
- Project 4: (one year; 2005 to 2006): India, Ghana, Zambia and Zimbabwe