Food4Cities initial report critically helpful for decision makers during lockdown

On 7 April the Food4Cities consortium, including ACWFS associates Jac Davis and Peter Verburg released an initial report detailing the results of their inventory of formal and informal food retailers in Worcester, South Africa.

05/01/2020 | 1:20 PM

Informal food retailers, like street vendors and hawkers, are an important part of the city food system, especially for the poorest citizens. However, these retailers have become difficult to access due to COVID-19 lockdown measures in the city. Results included but were not limited to information about how many households relied on informal food retail, including street-based retail and spaza shops, what foods they purchased at these sources, and which areas and households of Worcester are most affected by the lockdown. When presented with the results, city stakeholders considered it “critically helpful” to their decision making as they struggled to decide which businesses should remain open during the lockdown.

Before the lockdown, informal food retailers (spaza shops) had not required a permit to operate in the city. The city is now under pressure from law enforcement to close all businesses without permits, including informal food retailers. The stakeholders used the report's information to argue that the spaza shops should be given permits to remain open, to avoid disrupting the city food system during the lockdown.