6 May 2015 – Nutritious food and the informal food economy in South Africa

A recent article on the Cape Town Partnership website (30 April) reports on the work of Jane Battersby and colleagues at the African Food Security Urban Network (AFSUN) about how supermarkets are expanding into low-income areas and ‘causing people to move from traditional diets to ones that include more refined, processed, energy dense foods that are low in nutrients.’

One aspect of this concerns social grants – people used to spend this money on food from nearby hawkers, street traders and other vendors, but this is changing as large retailers start to pay out these grants rather than community facilities, and recipients switch to shop for food in the supermarket.

The article also discusses how, despite the important role that township traders, hawkers and other informal food traders play as part of peoples’ resilience against hunger in cities, the informal urban food economy is under threat from city policies to move informal traders out of inner cities and from the rapid growth of supermarkets.

You can read the full article here – where there is also a You Tube about ‘Operation Clean Sweep’ that evicted informal traders from the inner city in Johannesburg in 2013.

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