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The Urban Food System of Cape Town, South Africa

The Urban Food System of
Cape Town, South Africa
The research and publication of this report was funded by the Social
Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and the Interna-
tional Development Research Centre (IDRC) under the International
Partnerships for Sustainable Societies (IPaSS) Program. The authors
wish to thank Bronwen Dachs and Maria Salamone for their assistance
in preparing this report.
Published by the Hungry Cities Partnership
African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town, South Africa,
and Wilfrid Laurier University/Balsillie School of International Affairs,
Waterloo, Canada
First published 2017
ISBN 978-1-920597-22-1
Production by Bronwen Dachs Muller, Cape Town
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or
transmitted, in any form or by any means, without prior permission from
the publishers.
Gareth Haysom is Southern Cities Project Co-ordinator for the Hungry Cities
Partnership at the African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town, South
Jonathan Crush is Hungry Cities Partnership Director and the CIGI Chair in
Global Migration and Development at the Balsillie School of International Affairs,
Waterloo, Canada.
Mary Caesar is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Balsillie School of International
Previous Publications in the Hungry Cities Report Series
No 1 The Urban Food System of Nanjing, China
No 2 The Urban Food System of Maputo, Mozambique
1. Background 1
2. Demography of Cape Town 3
2.1 Population Composition 3
2.2 Population Distribution and Density 6
3. Formal Economy of Cape Town 11
3.1 Major Economic Activities 11
3.2 Employment and Unemployment 12
4. The Informal Economy 14
4.1 Size and Significance 14
4.2 Policies Towards Informality 21
5. Poverty and Income 23
5.1 Household and Personal Income 23
5.2 Housing Type 24
6. The Urban Food System 25
6.1 Sources of Food and Food Flows 28
6.1.1 National Food Sources 28
6.1.2 International Food Sources 33
6.1.3 Commercial Agriculture within Cape Town 34
6.1.4 Philippi Horticultural Area 37
6.2 Urban Agriculture 38
6.3 Food Processing 41
6.4 Food Retailing 43
6.4.1 Cape Town Fresh Produce Market (CTFPM) 43
6.4.2 Supermarket Dominance of Formal Food Retail 45
6.4.3 Informal Food Economy 49
7. Urban Food Security 53
7.1 Levels of Household Food Insecurity 53
7.2 Determinants of Food Insecurity 56
7.2.1 Household Income 56
7.2.2 Social Protection 58
7.2.3 Sources of Food 58
8. Conclusion 59
References 59
Table 1: Population Increase of the City of Cape Town, 1901-2014 2
Table 2: Racial and Gender Profile of Cape Town, 2011 3
Table 3: Population Projections for Cape Town to 2031 4
Table 4: Number of Households in Cape Town, 1996-2011 4
Table 5: Racial Composition of Cape Town Suburbs 8
Table 6: Characteristics of Participants in the Informal Sector 15
Table 7: Country of Origin of Informal Migrant Entrepreneurs 19
Table 8: Immigration Status of Informal Migrant Entrepreneurs 19
Table 9: Business Locations of Informal Migrant Enterprises 20
Table 10: Households by Type of Dwelling, 2011 25
Table 11: Housing Type by Race, 2001 and 2011 25
Table 12: Sectoral Share of Agricultural Output,1981-2013 29
Table 13: Major Imports and Exports from Cape Town, 2014 34
Table 14: Value of Agricultural Production in Magisterial Districts, 2007 36
(rand per ha)
Table 15: Livestock Holdings in Magisterial Districts, 2007 36
Table 16: Types of Food Vendor at Mitchell’s Plain Interchange 51
Figure 1: Population Increase by Race in Cape Town, 1910-2011 2
Figure 2: Decline in Average Household Size, 1996-2011 5
Figure 3: Population Pyramid of Cape Town, 2011 5
Figure 4: Cape Town Central Business District with Suburbs of 6
Green Point and Sea Point
Figure 5: Mix of Formal and Informal Housing, Khayelitsha, Cape Town 7
Figure 6: Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay 7
Figure 7: Dominant Population Group in Suburbs of Cape Town 8
Figure 8: Population Density in Cape Town, 2011 10
Figure 9: Comparison of National and Cape Town GDP Indices 11
Figure 10: Sectoral Contributions to Economic Growth, 2005-2014 12
Figure 11: Employment in Cape Town, 2008 to 2015 13
Figure 12: Employment by Sector in Cape Town, 2013-15 13
Figure 13: South African and Cape Town Unemployment Rates, 2008-2015 14
Figure 14: Characteristics of Informal Sector by Location 16
Figure 15: Informal Micro-Enterprises in Delft, Cape Town, 2010 and 2015 17
Figure 16: Year of Arrival in South Africa and Year of Business Start-Up 20
Figure 17: Average Household Income in Cape Town, 2001 23
Figure 18: Distribution of Household Income, 2011 24
Figure 19: Decline in Number of Commercial Farms 26
Figure 20: Components of the Urban Food System 28
Figure 21: Wheat Production by Province, 1994-2015 30
Figure 22: Selected South African Vegetable Production, 1990-2015 30
Figure 23: Key Fruit Crop Production, 1990-2015 31
Figure 24: Consumption of White and Red Meat, 1990-2014/5 31
Figure 25: Consumption Expenditure on Key Foods 32
Figure 26: Major South African Food Imports, 2008-2012 34
Figure 27: Productive and Designated Agricultural Areas 35
Figure 28: Philippi Horticultural Area, Cape Town 37
Figure 29: Location of Urban Agriculture Projects 40
Figure 30: Nyanga People’s Garden Centre, Cape Town 40
Figure 31: Oranjezicht City Farm 41
Figure 32: Sasko (Pioneer Foods) Bread Delivery 42
Figure 33: Location of Food Processing Businesses 43
Figure 34: Flows of Food from the CTFPM 44
Figure 35: Cape Town Fresh Produce Market 45
Figure 36: The People’s Market at the CTFPM 45
Figure 37: Supermarket Food Sales Turnover 46
Figure 38: Shoprite Distribution Centre, Brackenfell 47
Figure 39: Growth of Supermarkets in Cape Town 1994-2013 47
Figure 40: Number of Supermarkets by Income Quintile 48
Figure 41: Spatial distribution of USaves in Cape Town 48
Figure 42: Location of Food Vendors in Ward 34 50
Figure 43: Reasons for Choosing Trading Location 50
Figure 44: Peak Business Hours for Informal Vendors 50
Figure 45: Spaza in Low-Income Area of Cape Town 51
Figure 46: Spaza Owned by Migrants 51
Figure 47: Sources of Produce Sold by Informal Food Vendors 52
Figure 48: Frequency of Food Purchased by Informal Vendors 52
Figure 49: Experience and Risk of Hunger in South Africa, 2013 53
Figure 50: Levels of Food Insecurity in Low-Income Areas 54
Figure 51: Levels of Food Insecurity among Migrant Households 55
Figure 52: Foods Eaten by Low-Income Households 55
Figure 53: Months of Inadequate Food Provisioning 56
Figure 54: Household Income and Food Insecurity 57
Figure 55: Income and Food Insecurity among Migrant Households 57
Figure 56: Food Sources of Low-Income Households 59
Cape Town is South Africa’s second largest city and plays a critical role in the
national economy. It is also the seat of Parliament and the capital city of the
Western Cape, one of South Africa’s nine provinces. The origins of the city date
back to the first use of the Cape as a provisioning station for ships of the Dutch
East India Company en route to South East Asia in the 17th century (Wor-
den et al 1998). In the years that followed, white settlers from the Netherlands
and France, having decimated the local population, developed an agricultural
slave-based economy that began to expand inland from the urban settlement in
Cape Town. Slaves were imported from various colonies in Asia, many of whom
are the forebears of today’s large mixed-race (or Coloured) population of Cape
Town. The British occupied the Cape in 1814 and hastened the development of
the modern city and agricultural hinterland of Cape Town by transforming its
local governance structures and economy.
Under British colonial occupation, by 1870 the number of urban centres in
the Cape Colony had increased from 14 to 103 (Mäki 2008). This expansion is
largely attributable to the growth of service and administrative centres. Further,
the Cape Municipal Ordinance of 1836 established municipal councils intro-
ducing local government structures of Boards of Commissioners as the formal
authority. Local government existed in the Cape from as early as 1786 with spe-
cific duties to fix the price of bread and meat as well as controlling public works
(Mäki 2008). In terms of the local economy, the British abolished slavery and
instituted a low-wage-based economy. South Africa’s minerals-based industrial
revolution in the late 19th century led to new roles and immigrant populations in
the city. Cape Town became one of South Africa’s major ports for mineral and
agricultural exports and imports of commodities including food. The total pop-
ulation for the City was only 8,400 in 1865 but increased rapidly to 181,240 in
1920. For much of the 20th century, population growth was steady, at between
2-4% per annum (Table 1).
The history of urbanization in Cape Town is highly racialized (Bickford-Smith
1995, 2003, Western 1997). Until 1945, the white population of the city was
the largest component (Figure 1). This changed when the apartheid government
came to power in 1948. The urbanization of the Coloured population, which
grew from 200,000 in 1945 to 1.2 million in 2000 in Cape Town, was partly a
result of increased movement from small towns and farming areas to the city.
The apartheid government imposed strict controls on the movement of black
Africans and sent large numbers of migrants to South Africa’s cities back to the
rural areas. This repressive and unworkable “influx control” system had broken
down by 1986 when the controls and associated pass laws were abolished (Saff
1998). The black African population of Cape Town began to grow rapidly from
the mid-1980s onwards. Between 1980 and 2000, the black African population
of the city grew from less than 200,000 to 900,000, and to 1.4 million in 2011.
In the post-apartheid period, the white population stabilized as new national
immigration policies stopped large-scale migration from Europe and Cape Town
began to experience a major “brain drain” with skilled and professional whites
leaving the country (Höppli 2014).
TABLE 1: Population Increase of the City of Cape Town, 1901-2014
Year Population ±% p.a.
1901 171,000 +9.82
1950 618,000 +2.66
1955 705,000 +2.67
1960 803,000 +2.64
1965 945,000 +3.31
1970 1,114,000 +3.35
1975 1,339,000 +3.75
1980 1,609,000 +3.74
1985 1,933,000 +3.74
1990 2,296,000 +3.50
1996 2,565,018 +1.86
2001 2,892,243 +2.43
2007 3,497,097 +3.22
2011 3,740,000 +1.69
2014 3,750,000 +0.09
Sources: Worden et al (1998), Statistics South Africa
FIGURE 1: Population Increase by Race in Cape Town, 1910-2011
The other distinctive aspect of Cape Town’s history is the racialization of urban
space through racial segregation policies (Western 1997). In the period before
1948, segregationist policies led to a distinctive spatial organization in which
wealthy whites, who controlled the city’s economy and politics, lived in salubri-
ous surroundings close to Table Mountain. The working-class Coloured popu-
lation lived in low-income areas, known as the Cape Flats, which were further
from the CBD, but there were also middle-class suburbs in which both whites
and people of mixed-race lived. This racial mixing was outlawed by the apartheid
government which expropriated and demolished many Coloured-owned houses
and forcibly relocated their inhabitants to the Cape Flats (Western 1997). Some
predominantly mixed-race housing areas were completely destroyed, including
District Six, close to the city centre. The city’s growing black African population
was channeled to low-cost housing areas on the periphery of the city. However,
housing construction did not keep pace with urbanization and the city landscape
became increasingly congested with rapidly-growing informal settlements.
2.1 Population Composition
The 2011 South African Census recorded a population of 3,740,026 in the City
of Cape Town, with 42% Coloured or mixed-race, 39% black African, and 16%
white (Table 2). The number of women slightly exceeded the number of men,
significantly so in the case of the Coloured and white populations. Dorrington
(2000) projected that the city’s rapid post-apartheid population growth would
continue, reaching 4.3 million in 2016, and 5 million in 2031 (Table 3). Accord-
ing to this analysis, the black African population will be the largest component
of the city’s population by 2031.
TABLE 2: Racial and Gender Profile of Cape Town, 2011
Male Female Total
No. % No. % No. %
Black African 722,755 19.3 722,184 19.3 1,444,939 38.6
Coloured 759,559 20.3 825,727 22.1 1,585,286 42.4
Asian 26,155 0.7 25,631 0.7 51,786 1.4
White 280,133 7.5 305,698 8.2 585,831 15.7
Other 42,097 1.1 30,087 0.8 72,184 1.9
Total 1,830,699 48.9 1,909,327 51.1 3,740,026 100.0
Source: Statistics South Africa
TABLE 3: Population Projections for Cape Town to 2031
2016 2021 2026 2031
No. % No. % No. % No. %
Asian 75,546 1.9 82,334 1.9 88,383 2.1 93,541 2.2
Black African 1,496,267 37.4 1,581,397 38.4 1,653,399 39.3 1,703,802 40.0
Coloured 1,697,148 42.5 1,711,661 41.6 1,712,078 40.7 1,698,536 39.9
White 728,756 18.2 744,113 18.1 754,584 17.9 759,977 17.9
Source: Dorrington (2000)
The number of households in Cape Town grew from 653,000 in 1996 to
1,069,000 in 2011, an increase of over 60% (CoCT 2017: 17). The greatest
increase was in the number and proportion of black African households, again
a function of large-scale migration to the city (Table 4). While the number of
Coloured and white households also increased, their proportional share fell by
6-7% each. While the number of households has increased, average household
size has been declining across all racial groups (Figure 2). White households are
on average the smallest and Coloured households the largest, despite an overall
decline in the average size of both since 1996. In total, 38% of households in
Cape Town are female-headed.
TABLE 4: Number of Households in Cape Town, 1996-2011
1996 2001 2011
No. % No. % No. %
Black African 168,000 25.7 251,125 32.3 444,781 41.6
Coloured 259,982 39.8 310,465 39.9 358,629 33.6
White 195,011 29.9 205,734 26.5 232,826 21.8
Other 30,092 4.6 10,065 1.3 32,336 3.0
Total 653,085 100.0 777,389 100.0 1,068,572 100.0
Source: CoCT (2016: 17)
Rapid in-migration of adults from other parts of the country has produced a
distinctive age structure in which working-age men and women between 20
and 40 years of age predominate (Figure 3). The population pyramid of the city
shows a distinctive pattern in which the largest proportion of the population is
not young children (as is the case nationally) but adults in the 25-29 age band.
Also of note is the relatively low proportion of people in their teens. This may
reflect the preference of adults to school their children in other locations.
FIGURE 2: Decline in Average Household Size, 1996-2011
Source: CoCT (2016: 18)
FIGURE 3: Population Pyramid of Cape Town, 2011
As well as being a major destination for internal migrants (primarily from the
Eastern Cape), post-apartheid Cape Town has become a destination for inter-
national migrants and refugees from neighbouring SADC (Southern African
Development Community) countries (74,685 in 2011), other African countries
(25,392 in 2011) and elsewhere in the world (23,854 in 2011). The actual num-
bers may be higher since as many as 205,546 people did not specify their region
of birth in the 2011 Census.
2.2 Population Distribution and Density
Cape Town is a city of major contrasts and extremes. The wealthiest suburbs are
around Table Mountain and are inhabited primarily by whites, a legacy of the
city’s apartheid past. This is the popular touristic image of Cape Town (Figure
4). However, the majority of the city’s people live in formal and informal hous-
ing further away from the mountain in an area known as the Cape Flats. One of
the largest of these areas is Khayelitsha, which was established in the 1980s as a
planned residential area for black Africans, 30km from the city centre. Khayelit-
sha now houses over 1 million people, many in dire poverty, in a mix of basic
formal housing and informal structures (Figure 5). In some areas of the city,
large informal settlements have grown in what were whites-only areas under
apartheid. This has produced stark juxtapositions of wealth and poverty, such as
the case of Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay (Figure 6).
FIGURE 4: Cape Town Central Business District with Suburbs of Green Point
and Sea Point
The spatial distribution of the city’s population is still predominantly determined
by race. More than 20 years after South Africa’s first democratic election, and
the abolition of state-mandated racial segregation, racially-determined suburbs
remain the dominant feature of urban settlement in Cape Town. As Figure 7 and
Table 5 clearly show, most areas are either predominantly white, Coloured or
black African.
The parts of the city where over 90% of the residents are black African include
areas designated for Africans by the apartheid system (such as Langa, Gugule-
thu and Khayelitsha) and informal settlements (including Crossroads, Imizamo
Yethu and Philippi). In addition to Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay, the wealthy
area of Noordhoek has a large informal settlement (Masiphumelele). Both
Imizamo Yethu and Masiphumelele are post-apartheid informal settlements
mainly occupied by recent migrants to the city. Suburbs with a predominantly
Coloured population are generally low-income and working class areas on the
Cape Flats including Mitchell’s Plain (91%), Athlone (87%), Grassy Park (87%)
and Manenberg (85%). The only suburb with a roughly equal number of black
African and Coloured residents is the low-income area of Delft. The residents
of the wealthiest suburbs, most of which are close to Table Mountain, are pre-
dominantly white.
FIGURE 5: Mix of Formal and Informal Housing, Khayelitsha
Source: Johnny Miller
FIGURE 6: Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay
Source: Johnny Miller
FIGURE 7: Dominant Population Group in Suburbs of Cape Town
TABLE 5: Racial Composition of Cape Town Suburbs
Suburb Black African Coloured White Other
Majority Black African Population
Langa 99.1 0.4 0.1 0.5
Nyanga 98.8 0.3 0.2 0.8
Khayelitsha 98.6 0.6 0.1 0.7
Gugulethu 98.6 0.9 0.0 0.5
Crossroads 96.7 2.9 0.1 0.3
Mfuleni 95.9 3.0 0.2 0.9
Philippi 94.1 4.7 0.1 1.1
Nomzamo 93.3 4.0 0.3 2.4
Imizamo Yethu 91.6 3.7 0.1 4.6
Durbanville 85.4 14.6 0.0 0.0
Noordhoek 67.3 2.3 24.6 5.8
Klipheuwel 54.1 38.6 6.8 0.5
Fistantekraal 51.5 46.9 0.5 1.1
Castle Rock 49.5 46.3 2.8 1.4
Kraaifontein 43.3 40.2 14.4 2.1
Majority Coloured Population
Pella 1.7 97.3 0.1 0.9
Mamre 3.0 94.6 0.3 2.1
Elsies Rivier 6.8 91.4 0.3 1.5
Matroosfontein 7.0 90.9 0.1 2.0
Mitchell’s Plain 7.3 90.8 0.2 1.7
Belhar 4.9 90.2 0.3 4.7
Macassar 8.9 88.3 1.2 1.6
Grassy Park 6.2 87.4 0.6 5.8
Athlone 5.9 87.0 0.3 6.8
Atlantis 12.9 85.0 0.1 2.0
Manenberg 10.4 84.5 0.1 5.0
Eerste Rivier 16.0 81.7 0.2 2.0
Blue Downs 22.9 74.9 0.3 1.8
Kommetjie 6.1 74.5 17.8 1.6
Epping Industria 30.0 66.0 0.0 4.0
Blackheath 33.4 63.2 0.9 2.4
Parow 9.6 58.4 25.5 6.5
Kuilsriver 11.4 53.1 32.6 2.8
Delft 46.2 51.5 0.1 2.1
Cape Metro 24.2 46.8 26.9 2.2
Cape Farms 14.3 44.1 36.5 5.2
Goodwood 17.9 37.9 37.9 6.2
Philadelphia 7.2 59.1 33.7 0.0
Strand 11.6 51.1 34.2 3.1
Majority White Population
Fish Hoek 9.7 5.1 82.2 3.1
Durbanville 5.5 10.1 82.2 2.2
Melkbosstrand 7.8 10.0 80.5 1.6
Camps Bay 12.2 4.4 80.2 3.1
Brackenfell 9.8 9.0 79.0 2.2
Newlands 8.9 5.9 77.0 8.2
Constantia 11.5 9.2 75.3 4.0
Scarborough 16.2 9.8 69.6 4.5
Gordons Bay 10.9 19.8 65.6 3.7
Claremont 16.8 11.1 64.1 8.0
Green Point 21.5 9.7 62.4 6.5
Somerset West 13.0 24.5 60.1 2.5
Hout Bay 6.8 32.3 57.4 3.6
Simon’s Town 31.4 8.9 56.0 3.6
Bellville 15.7 29.4 50.3 4.6
Muizenberg 23.2 18.4 49.9 8.5
Milnerton 29.9 17.3 47.7 5.0
Blouberg 44.4 6.5 44.7 4.5
Source: Compiled from 2011 Census data at
The legacy of urban racial segregation can also be seen in the highly variable
population density across the city. In general, high and low-density areas are
in different parts of the city. Densities are very low in the middle and upper
(predominantly white) suburbs close to the mountain and around the Cape pen-
insula (Figure 8). By contrast, densities are extremely high in the city’s informal
settlements. In between are the Cape Flats suburbs with relatively high-density
formal housing. In the last three decades, the city has undergone a process of
inverse densification with the periphery densifying much faster than the urban
core (Turok 2011).
FIGURE 8: Population Density in Cape Town, 2011
Source: SACN (2011)
3.1 Major Economic Activities
Cape Town is an important contributor to the national and provincial (Western
Cape) economies, making up around 10% of national GDP in 2014 (CoCT
2016: 45). Its real GDP per capita and GDP per capita growth rate closely mirror
that of the national economy, although GDP per capita is consistently higher
in Cape Town (Figure 9). Cape Town’s economy is primarily service-driven,
with the tertiary sector contributing almost 80% of the city’s economic output
(CoCT 2016: 46). Between 2005 and 2014, the finance and insurance industry
contributed over 30% of economic growth. Retail and wholesale trade, con-
struction and business services also made significant contributions (Figure 10).
FIGURE 9: Comparison of National and Cape Town GDP Indices
Source: CoCT (2016: 45)
FIGURE 10: Sectoral Contributions to Economic Growth, 2005-2014
Source: CoCT (2016: 46)
3.2 Employment and Unemployment
The growth of the city’s economy is reflected in the rising number of jobs, which
increased from 1.34 million in 2008 to over 1.5 million in 2014 (with a marked
dip between 2008 and 2010 during the global financial crisis) (Figure 11). The
importance of the tertiary sector (which includes services, finance, private house-
holds, transport and trade) as a source of employment is evident from Figure 12,
which shows that over 1 million jobs are in tertiary industry. Secondary industry
provides around 200,000 jobs with clothing and textiles and agro-processing as
major employers. Primary industry (agriculture and mining) is much less signifi-
cant, employing less than 10,000 people.
As the sectoral breakdown suggests, Cape Town’s labour market favours those
with skills. Many new migrants to the city are semi-skilled or unskilled and
are therefore mostly absorbed into the informal sector. However, the city still
has a very high unemployment rate. Between 2008 and 2015, unemployment
increased from 19.2% to 22.1%, although there was a sharp decline during the
course of 2015 (CoCT 2016: 48). While Cape Town’s unemployment rate is
well below the national average (Figure 13), unemployment for youth in the city
is as high as 47%.
FIGURE 11: Employment in Cape Town, 2008 to 2015
Source: CoCT (2016: 49)
FIGURE 12: Employment by Sector in Cape Town, 2013-15
Source: CoCT (2016: 52)
FIGURE 13: South African and Cape Town Unemployment Rates, 2008-2015
Source: CoCT (2016: 49)
4.1 Size and Signicance
Various commentators have said that the informal economy in South Africa is
small in comparison with that of other African countries and given the coun-
try’s high rates of formal sector unemployment. According to the City of Cape
Town (CoCT 2015: 45), “the informal sector incorporates a broad spectrum
of economic activities and business typologies in a diverse range of geographic
locations across the city, with varying intensities of relations with formal busi-
ness.” An estimated 122,000 people (or 9% of the total workforce) were infor-
mally employed at the time of Census 2011, an increase from 47,000 in 2001
(CoCT 2016: 53). Current estimates suggest that the sector has grown rapidly
in the last five years and may now provide employment or self-employment for
between 160,000 and 186,000 people. The Cape Town Partnership claims that
the local informal economy constitutes 12% of the city’s total economy and that
it employs 18% of economically active residents. According to the City (CoCT
2016: 53):
The informal sector’s socio-economic impact in Cape Town is even larger than
its contribution to employment would imply, as the income received from informal
work accrues disproportionately to those who live close to the poverty line… The
relatively low wages of informal-sector workers, who tend to live in poor households
with larger- than-average household size, result in a substantial decrease in the city’s
poverty rate.
The City calculates that there is a 4.5% decline in the poverty rate once informal
sector income is factored in or the equivalent of pulling 186,000 people out of
poverty. While individual incomes can be low, the informal economy supports
large numbers of dependants in poor households.
A City of Cape Town 2015 study of the informal sector found that 60% of the
participants were male and 40% were female (Table 6). Nearly half were black
African, with 36% Coloured and only 15% white. As many as 41% were youth
(under the age of 35, according to the ILO definition). Participation by people
over the age of 50 was much lower (at 18%). The participants were relatively well
educated with 38% having completed high school and 10% with some tertiary
education. Contrary to expectations, only 12% of informal-sector workers were
employed or self-employed in informal settlements. By far the greatest number
were in formal areas of the city. The informal sector is also “incredibly fluid”
with individuals moving backwards and forwards between it and formal employ-
ment. Many participants use their savings from a formal job as start-up capital for
an informal business.
Figure 14 maps the major areas of the city in which informal businesses operate
and shows that there is considerable variation in the degree to which they are
operating with City business permits. In the CBD for example, all operators
have permits, while the proportion in Strand with permits is only 56%. The
map also suggests that the mix of informal sector activities varies considerably by
location, although trade in food and apparel is found to a greater or lesser degree
in every location.
TABLE 6: Characteristics of Participants in the Informal Sector
% of Informal Sector Workers
Male 59.8
Female 40.2
Black African 48.5
Coloured 36.0
White 14.9
Other 0.5
15-29 26.5
30-34 14.5
35-49 41.1
50-64 17.9
None 3.0
Primary (some/completed) 13.6
Secondary (some/completed) 80.4
Tertiary 10.4
Urban formal 88.2
Urban informal 11.8
Source: CoCT (2015: 48)
FIGURE 14: Characteristics of Informal Sector by Location
Source: CoCT (2015: 49)
CoCT (2015) divides informal traders into two main types: (a) general traders
who rely on high-volume, low-margin sales and (b) specialized traders who sell
higher-margin goods to smaller numbers of customers. The former are “more
responsive to pedestrian flows, as customer convenience is their main competi-
tive advantage” (CoCT 2015: 49). They are primarily retailers who sell “cheap
and popular items” such as fruit, vegetables and snacks. While retailing/trading
is the major informal sector activity, the informal economy is much more diverse
than simply the buying and reselling of goods:
Structurally, the components of this informal economy include a notable informal
retail economy which is manifest as street trading in the inner city and spaza retail-
ing in township areas. The Cape Town market street trading economy includes a
distinctive element of traders who are engaged with the city’s burgeoning formal tour-
ism economy through the vending of arts and crafts. Beyond retail, however, there is
evidence of an informal economy of services (which includes among others, hairdress-
ing and shebeens); of manufacturing (especially informal clothing), construction,
recycling and repairs (garage mechanics in townships, cell phone repairs); and, a
highly distinctive economy in which an estimated 15,000 practitioners collectively
are involved gathering wild-harvest resources to support the traditional medicine
economy (Rogerson 2015).
Additional detail on informal activity in particular localities comes from other
recent surveys. First, a recent study of the informal sector in the low-income
suburb of Delft in Cape Town shows the relative importance of different types of
informal sector activity (Charman et al 2016). The number of micro-enterprises
more than doubled from 879 in 2010 to 1,798 in 2015 (Figure 15). While almost
all types of activity saw some growth, the increase was particularly marked for
take-away (cooked) food, street trading, meat, poultry and fish selling, and wood
and coal sales. There was an overall decline in the number of spaza shops, which
may be related to recent attacks and looting of these types of outlet (Charman
and Piper 2012).
FIGURE 15: Informal Micro-Enterprises in Delft, Cape Town, 2010 and 2015
Source: Charman et al (2016: 4)
A study of small businesses in Khayelitsha found that there were 85,000 SMMEs
of which 32,000 were informal micro-enterprises and 45,000 were classified as
“survivalists” (USB 2014: 2). The study classified enterprises into (a) medium-
sized enterprises (20-50 staff) such as taxi operators or large childcare centres; (b)
small enterprises (6-20 staff) such as corner shops, repair workshops and restau-
rants; (c) micro-enterprises (5 or fewer staff) such as spaza, shebeens, hairdressers
and taxis; and (d) survivalist operations such as street vending, cleaning and waste
There have been various studies of the involvement of migrants and refugees in
the informal economy of Cape Town (Gastrow and Amit 2013, Kalitanyi and
Visser 2010, Khosa and Kalitanyi 2014, Slabbert and Tengeh 2013, Tawodzera
et al 2015, Tengeh 2013a, 2013b, Tengeh et al 2011). African migrant entrepre-
neurs in Cape Town are engaged in a wide range of entrepreneurial activities.
Tengeh et al (2011: 16) found that the array of informal sector activities included
cell phone repairs, shoe repairs, crafts, restaurants, panelbeaters, ethnic clothing,
manufacturing and even operating night clubs. Most – almost two-thirds – were
involved in various forms of trading. Certain activities were dominated by par-
ticular groups of foreign nationals including Somalis in clothing, Senegalese in
footwear, Congolese in hairdressing, and Malawians and Ugandans in arts and
crafts (Kalitanyi and Visser 2010). A 2015 SAMP study of 518 migrant-owned
businesses in Cape Town confirmed that the migrants came from a wide variety
of countries (Table 7) (Tawodzera et al 2015). There is a common public percep-
tion, reinforced by official statements, that most migrants are in South Africa
illegally. However, the SAMP study found that over 60% were either recognized
refugees or asylum-seekers and only 7% had no official documentation (Table 8).
The survey concentrated on micro-enterprises in three major sectors: (a) retail,
trade and wholesale; (b) manufacturing; and (c) services. Sixty-two percent of
the migrant entrepreneurs were engaged in retail, trade and wholesale activities,
28% in services and 10% in manufacturing. The entrepreneurs conducted their
business activities from a variety of temporary and permanent locations (Table
9). Some operate in more than one location. The most significant location was
a temporary stall on the street (38% of the total sample). Next was a permanent
stall on the street (at 21%). Other fixed premises included workshops or shops
(16%), their own home (11%), a permanent stall in a market (11%) and a shop
in a house, yard or garage (3%). Other temporary sites of significance included
taxi ranks (11%) and in the customer’s home (3%). A total of 9% were mobile,
predominantly selling goods door-to-door.
TABLE 7: Country of Origin of Informal Migrant Entrepreneurs
No. %
Zimbabwe 118 22.8
Malawi 39 7.5
Tanzania 9 1.7
Lesotho 5 1.0
Zambia 5 1.0
Angola 4 0.8
Mozambique 4 0.8
Other African
Somalia 70 13.5
Democratic Republic of the Congo 58 11.2
Nigeria 48 9.3
Ethiopia 37 7.2
Cameroon 22 4.3
Ghana 17 3.3
Congo (Brazzaville) 14 2.7
Uganda 12 2.3
Kenya 11 2.1
Rwanda 5 1.0
Pakistan 8 1.5
Bangladesh 4 0.8
Other country 27 5.2
Total 517 100.0
TABLE 8: Immigration Status of Informal Migrant Entrepreneurs
No. %
Refugee permit holder 162 31.5
Asylum-seeker permit holder 158 30.7
Permanent resident of South Africa 61 11.9
Work permit holder 40 7.8
No official documentation 38 7.4
Visitor’s permit holder 30 5.8
Other immigration status 12 2.3
Unknown 12 2.4
Citizen of South Africa 1 0.2
Total 514 100.0
TABLE 9: Business Locations of Informal Migrant Enterprises
No. % of total
Permanent stall on the street 109 21.0
Workshop or shop 85 16.4
Permanent stall in a market 55 10.6
In own home 55 10.6
Shop in house/yard/garage 18 3.5
Taxi/public transport station in permanent structure 10 1.9
Restaurant or hotel 2 0.4
Temporary stall on the street 198 38.2
Taxi rank 57 11.0
Mobile (e.g. door-to-door) 46 8.9
In customer’s home (e.g. hairstyling) 17 3.3
From vehicle (car, truck, motor bike, bike) 6 1.2
Other location 34 6.6
Note: multiple response question
Only a few of the businesses (less than 5%) were established before 2000. The
majority (over 50%) started between 2010 and 2014 (Figure 16). Comparing the
year in which the migrants came to South Africa with the year they established
their business, shows that there is a clear time lag between the two as they raise
sufficient capital from other activities (formal employment as well as working for
an informal business owner) to set up their own business.
FIGURE 16: Year of Arrival in South Africa and Year of Business Start-Up
4.2 Policies Towards Informality
Cape Town’s 2013 Informal Trading Policy emphasizes the importance of the
informal economy to the city:
The City acknowledges the legitimacy and role of the informal economy in terms of
its employment and economic growth prospects. Urbanising cities and towns glob-
ally are experiencing growth in the number of entrants to the informal sector. The
informal economy also has low barriers to entry and serves as a social safety net: it
also often sustains the livelihoods of foreign nationals who seek refuge from war torn
countries. The informal economy is thus important socially and economically. The
response to the sector will determine how well it thrives (CoCT 2013: 10).
Officials from the Department of Economic Development have noted that new
policy adopts “a more developmental approach” (Rogerson 2015).
Skinner (2013) draws attention to the more restrictive dimensions of the official
response and regulation of the street trading economy of Cape Town. First, the
City of Cape Town has committed much less funding for infrastructure in sup-
port of informal retailing. Second, Cape Town has declared a significantly larger
area of defended space, in the form of restricted or prohibited trade areas, than
any other leading city in South Africa. Third, compared to other South African
cities, Cape Town has fewer public space traders generally and a reduced number
of inner-city traders. Waiting lists for permits can be up to two-and-a-half years
in certain parts of the city (Chapman, 2014). Donaldson et al (2014: 292) argue
that the policy “limits who can trade; traders that do not get a permit find this
unfair. Traders that have one find that the process to add or change the type of
goods they sell is too onerous.” Crush et al (2015: 44) conclude that while the
policy environment varies across different parts of the city, as well as between dif-
ferent elements of informal economic activities, for Cape Town as a whole “the
modernizing vision of the ‘world-class city’ with its associated antipathy towards
informality and the pathologizing of informal space and activity seems to pre-
dominate.” There is evidence of a subtle but systematic exclusion of street traders
through “ongoing harassment of traders throughout the city” and the allocation
of only 410 street trading bays across the entire inner city (Crush et al, 2015: 44).
A completely different set of regulatory challenges confront migrant entrepre-
neurs undertaking operations in Cape Town township areas as opposed to the
inner city. Gastrow and Amit (2013) record that low regulatory barriers to entry
facilitated the growth of Somali trading in Cape Town townships. Indeed, low
regulatory requirements as well as lack of enforcement of applicable legislation
“have benefited spaza traders who might otherwise struggle to meet the complex,
legal, technical and bureaucratic requirements in more regulated areas” (Gastrow
and Amit, 2013: 18). In low-income areas, spazas and “house shops” are not reg-
ulated under the informal trading policy but instead by the zoning schemes that
apply to residential areas (Rogerson 2015). The city’s zoning scheme differenti-
ates between two types of single residential zoning. In higher-income residential
areas – SR1 – the zoning regime does not allow for spazas or house shops. But in
lower-income areas, such as townships, SR2 zoning makes provision for spazas
(Rogerson 2015). The intention is that owners use house shops for supplemen-
tary income only and do not lease out their shops for rent. Shops that expand and
exceed these conditions are expected to formalize and relocate to areas that are
zoned for business purposes (Rogerson 2015).
Although spaza traders are legally required to possess business licences, Cape
Town authorities have been generally reluctant to enforce licensing in townships
mainly because of lack of capacity. Many, if not most, township spazas, whether
run by locals or migrants, therefore operate in contravention of this requirement
for a business licence, which applies to sellers of perishable items such as milk,
bread or meat (Gastrow and Amit, 2013). The absence of clarity in regulations
about spaza operations and zoning was articulated as follows by the Chairperson
of the Somali Association of South Africa:
What spaza shops normally face is that there are areas which are zoned and areas
which are not zoned. In all those areas which are zoned, there’s always challenges
that the spaza owners face because they don’t understand how the regulation works:
what they’re supposed to do and not supposed to do when they open a shop for the
first time. What happens is that somebody opens a shop somewhere and receives a
warning letter from the municipality saying ‘no, you have to close down’. And he
doesn’t understand why. And the person who gives the letter doesn’t explain a lot of
things. The municipalities don’t usually run workshops or things like that for spaza
shops to teach them about what regulations or by laws mean. You think it is a free
zone where you can just trade and do what you want. People are fined and told ‘you
are doing illegal business. You don’t have a license.’ So, there’s a lot of confusion
when it comes to the by laws or regulations that apply to places that are not zoned
specifically. And the municipality or the local government is not actually very clear
with their law (Quoted in Rogerson 2015).
In spite of the existence of regulations and the important role of the informal
economy in Cape Town, informal enterprises continue to face a number of dif-
ficulties (Rogerson 2015). Traders are unsure of their rights and their economic
role, especially when their goods are confiscated by the police with devastating
impacts on their livelihoods.
5.1 Household and Personal Income
Average annual household income in Cape Town in 2011 was ZAR57,300 per
year. However, there were wide variations in levels of income across the city with
high-income areas located around the mountain and Cape Peninsula and lower-
income areas located on the periphery of the city (Figure 17). In 2011, 147,000
households (14%) had an income of zero and 332,000 (31%) had an income of
less than ZAR20,000 per year. At the other end of the spectrum, 141,000 house-
holds had an income of more than ZAR300,000 per year.
FIGURE 17: Average Household Income in Cape Town, 2001
Source: Peyton, 2012
Percentage in Informal
Standalone Housing
FIGURE 18: Distribution of Household Income, 2011
Statistics South Africa reports that between 2001 and 2011 there was a decrease
in the number of low-income households in Cape Town: 56% of households
had a monthly income of ZAR3,200 or less in 2001 but, by 2011 that figure
had dropped to 47%. During the same period, only one percent of households
moved into the category of households with no income: from 13% to 14%.
There was also very little movement at the other end of the income spectrum as
the percentage of households with a monthly income of ZAR25,600 or more
increased from 10% to 14%. Black African and Coloured households expe-
rienced this increase in income. In 2001, 87% of Black Africans and 54% of
Coloured households had an income of ZAR3,200 or less and by 2011 that fig-
ure had dropped to 69% for Black African and 41% for Coloured households.
Cape Town is becoming a more unequal society as the gap between the rich and
the poor increases. The Gini coefficient for Cape Town improved from 0.60 in
2001 to 0.57 in 2010. However, in 2011/2012 it increased to 0.67.
5.2 Housing Type
Census 2011 found that 56% of dwellings in Cape Town were formal houses
and 21% were informal shacks (Table 10). Most shacks are located in informal
settlements scattered around the city (Figure 17). Forty-two percent of the Black
African population of the city lived in informal housing in 2011 and around
10,000 new shacks are constructed annually. Up-to-date information on the
location of settlements in relation to household income is not yet available. How-
ever, plotting their location on a base map of income levels across the city in 2001
suggests that there is a strong correlation between the two (Figure 17).
TABLE 10: Households by Type of Dwelling, 2011
No. %
House 601,956 56.3
Shack 218,781 20.5
Apartment/flat 106,161 9.9
Semi-detached house 74,484 7.0
Others 67,194 6.3
Housing type is clearly differentiated by race with 43% of black African house-
holds in informal dwellings in 2011, compared with only 7% of Coloured house-
holds and 0.3% of white households (Table 11). The proportion of black African
households in informal dwellings did, however, decline between 2001 and 2011.
TABLE 11: Housing Type by Race, 2001 and 2011
Black Coloured Indian White
2001 2011 2001 2011 2001 2011 2001 2011
Informal/backyard dwellings 8.6 12.3 3.7 5.0 0.5 1.1 0.2 0.1
Informal dwelling not in backyard 43.0 30.3 1.8 2.1 0.4 1.0 0.2 0.2
Formal dwellings 45.2 56.4 92.1 91.3 97.4 97.1 98.5 99.0
The Cape Town food system is embedded within the wider food system of
South Africa. The country’s food system is a product of its apartheid past, which
was designed specifically to benefit a particular racial group. White South Afri-
cans were recipients of direct development support that has resulted in market
dominance by a small core group. Instead of a post-apartheid transformation
of the food system, its inequalities were compounded by legal and governance
processes that followed the country’s first democratic election in 1994.
Three notable developments impacted directly on the nature and shape of the
food system that emerged after apartheid’s collapse. First was the signing of the
Uruguay Round of Global Agreement of Trade and Tariffs (GATT), which led
to the formation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1994. This process
obligated countries to trade agreements with implications for the multiple food
systems of production and distribution. Second was the dismantling of the legal
and regulatory systems governing agricultural and food products in South Africa,
and their replacement with a combination of free market systems and forms of
industry self-regulation (as opposed to policy and regulatory systems).
These processes culminated in legislation enabling the dismantling of state-led
systems: the Marketing of Agricultural Products Act (MAPA) of 1996. This was
supported by the third process, enacted before the previous ones but of criti-
cal importance. This was the amendments to the Co-operatives Act (in 1993).
These amendments allowed the removal of co-operative infrastructure from
farmer control, and the subsequent privatization of these assets. Combined,
these three processes opened the door to the expansion of corporate power in
the South African food system (Greenberg 2016). These shifts are important as
they lay the foundation for the type and structure of the South African (and Cape
Town) food system and its functioning.
These changes, followed by the 2001 Strategic Plan for Agriculture, paved the
way for liberalized and competitive agricultural markets aimed primarily at
greater foreign trade in agricultural products (DoA 2001). After deregulation,
field crop prices adjusted downwards to world market levels. Commercial farm-
ers shifted production approaches to greater mechanization and relocated on-
farm field crop production to better quality soils, abandoning more marginal
areas. The result has been a simultaneous consolidation and expansion of large
commercial (industrial) farms, a decrease in the number of smaller family-owned
farms and an overall increase in average farm size (Vink and Van Rooyen 2009).
There has been a marked decline in the number of farming units in every prov-
ince (Figure 10). Vink and Van Rooyen (2009) reported that between 1990 and
2008, there was a 76% decline in the number of farmers farming on land over
20ha. While this figure has been contested, and absolute numbers may differ
slightly, the dual trend of farmer decline and farm consolidation is a reality in the
South African agrifood sector.
FIGURE 19: Decline in Number of Commercial Farms
Source: DAFF (2013)
0 2,000 4,000 6,000 8,000 10,000 12,000
The Cape Town food system includes activities, actors and institutions connect-
ed to, and interacting, in the production, processing and packaging, distribu-
tion and retail, and consumption of food as well as waste disposal. The preferred
outcome of these interactions is food security for all of the city’s residents. Cape
Town’s food system is complex, reflecting the above regulatory changes running
concurrently with an informal food system that originally emerged to counter
the inequalities enforced by apartheid.
The informal system is active and vibrant and engages in similar activities as
the formal sector. The only difference is effectively one of visibility, in terms of
policy and law. The informal sector remains largely illegal, despite the fact that
it and the formal sector are directly connected and often reliant on one another.
This mutuality is perhaps most evident in the fact that recently Massmart (the
South African Walmart subsidiary) stated that as much as 50% of its business
comes from the informal sector. The connections exist not only in retail but also
in production, processing, packaging, and waste management, and even in the
prepared food sector.
All of the components of a typical city food system are represented to a greater
or lesser degree within the city limits and Figure 20 assists in demonstrating
its inter-connected components. However, the complex nature of the food sys-
tem means that in the absence of a long-term recording of food system activi-
ties, much of it remains unseen, masked by corporate confidentiality concerns,
unclear reporting measures (such as on food flows), and a general absence of an
obligation to report information and data.
The absence of a food governance mandate in Cape Town (and in all other South
African cities) means that no institution is tasked with the monitoring of the
food system. The food system is largely in the hands of the private sector, which
means that data is not uniformly recorded or readily available. The control of
substantial components of the food system by large private sector players is thus
a fundamental challenge to evidence-based food system governance (Haysom
FIGURE 20: Components of the Urban Food System
Source: Troosters (2015: 29)
6.1 Sources of Food and Food Flows
6.1.1 National Food Sources
South African commercial agriculture, while highly mechanized, is a high-risk
activity. Only 35% of South Africa’s land surface receives sufficient rainfall for
dryland crop production and only 13% of the land is suitably arable, with only 3%
considered high potential agricultural land (Haysom and Metelerkamp 2012). As
climate volatility increases, the viability of the local food system is coming under
severe pressure. When the resource challenges are combined with the volatil-
ity that comes with open and liberalized markets, the food system pressures are
further amplified. This was highlighted in the 2016 Bureau for Food and Agri-
cultural Policy (BFAP) report:
Despite some volatility owing to its dependence on global markets and on an inclem-
ent climate, gross value added by the sector expanded by more than 15% in real
terms since 2005. However, this expansion peaked at over 30% in 2014, before
declining rapidly in the past two seasons as a result of extreme drought in the sum-
mer rainfall regions (BFAP 2016: 1).
Agricultural outputs fall into three broad categories: field crops, horticulture and
animal production. Largely driven by the changes in the nature of the agricul-
tural economy, there has been a shift in the relative importance of each with
declines in field crops, increases in horticulture, and livestock remaining rela-
tively constant before a fairly dramatic increase in recent years (Table 12).
TABLE 12: Sectoral Share of Agricultural Output,1981-2013
Years Field Crops (%) Horticulture (%) Animal Production (%)
1979-1983 44.8 16.2 39.0
1984-1988 39.5 18.0 42.5
1989-1993 34.5 21.3 44.2
1994-1998 33.5 23.6 43.2
1999-2003 34.0 25.7 40.3
2004-2008 26.8 26.5 46.7
2009-2013 26.8 25.6 47.6
Source: DAFF (2016)
The relative importance of animal production is a result of poor soils and the
climate and rainfall needed for field crops and horticulture. From a field crop
perspective, very little maize – a key staple for most people within the city of
Cape Town and the province – is produced in the Western Cape. However, the
province is a key wheat-growing region in South Africa, accounting for around
a third of all wheat produced (Figure 21).
Trends in vegetable production, classified under horticulture, are reflected in
Figure 22. This figure raises critical questions about the changes taking place in
the South African food system. The product showing the greatest growth is the
potato crop. When considered against a backdrop of the tepid performance of
other horticultural crops, this expansion in production output provides further
insights into changes in both agricultural production, resource use (for example
water), and diets.
Fruit production in South Africa has benefited from the opening up of markets.
Access to new markets, and changes in how farmers and producer organizations
could engage the market, resulted in the expansion of fruit production. As the
Western Cape is ideally suited to the production of wine and some pome fruits,
the expansion resulted in marked changes in the production landscape. Despite
this, open markets mean that the fruit available to the Cape Town consumer is
often imported. Figure 23 shows South African production changes in some key
fruits (though not all are grown in the Western Cape).
FIGURE 21: Wheat Production by Province, 1994-2015
Source: DAFF (2016: 12)
FIGURE 22: Selected South African Vegetable Production, 1990-2015
Source: DAFF (2016: 54)
Potatoes Tomatoes Pumpkin Onions Cabbage Carrots
Production (1,000t)
FIGURE 23: Key Fruit Crop Production, 1990-2015
Source: DAFF (2016: 35,36,37,50)
Changes in the eating habits of South African consumers are perhaps best reflect-
ed in the meat industry. There is a general trend of reduced consumption of beef
and pork (and other red meat) and an increase in the consumption of poultry
(Figure 24). The size of the cattle herd has remained constant since the 1980s
with a reported herd size of 12.9 million head in 1980 and 13.7 million in 2014/5
(DAFF 2016: 56). Poultry has eclipsed all other meat consumed and is arguably
the key source of protein for most South Africans.
FIGURE 24: Consumption of White and Red Meat, 1990-2014/5
Source: DAFF (2016: 66)
South Africa’s apartheid legacy is a food system with high levels of concentration
in all aspects of the food value chain. For example, there are 5-6,000 wheat farm-
ers but the four main millers control 87% of the market and are integrated with
plant bakers (Cutts and Kirsten 2006). There are only 13 milk buyers of which
the largest four process 65% of commercial milk. The broiler meat industry is
controlled by two major players who control 50% of the industry (Louw et al
2007:4). Maize and soy are the main inputs for chicken feed - and four compa-
nies control 75% of maize milling (Makgetla 2017) . The nature of the South
African agro-food system is described by Greenberg (2016: 36) as follows:
The South African agro-food system has the characteristics of a corporate-led food
regime, accompanied by economic concentration and centralisation of power, espe-
cially since deregulation in the early 1990s. Although there is an ongoing role for
the state, the combination of greater corporate self-regulation and the multinationali-
sation of agro-food capital ensure a shift in the relationship towards greater corporate
power. Characteristics of the contemporary regime include economies of scale, merg-
ers and acquisitions and concentration and centralisation of ownership and power.
Despite the high degree of corporate concentration, there is intense competi-
tion by companies and a related unwillingness to supply detailed information
on food flows to researchers. Any attempt to ascertain what proportion of the
cereals, fruit, vegetables and livestock produced nationally makes its way to Cape
Town and is actually consumed there is thwarted. Cape Town consumption of
food therefore needs to be considered within the context of wider South African
consumption patterns (Figure 25). What is evident is a real decline in grain con-
sumption and an increase in meat consumption.
FIGURE 25: Consumption Expenditure on Key Foods
Source: DAFF (2016: 96)
6.1.2 International Food Sources
South Africa’s major imports from global markets are cereals, with rice being the
most important, sourced primarily from Thailand and India. Although wheat
is the second most important cereal crop in South Africa (after maize), imports
reached an all-time high in 2015. The major suppliers, in order of importance,
are Russia, Germany, Canada and the Ukraine. The other major imports are
meat and poultry, palm oil and its derivatives, and soya and its derivatives. In
2012, South Africa imported ZAR831 billion worth of agricultural products.
Figure 26 shows the top 10 South African agricultural food and beverage imports
for the period 2008 to 2012 (Battersby et al 2014). In times of climatic stress,
these figures can shift dramatically. During the recent (2015/2016) drought, for
example, the Bureau for Agricultural Policy (BFAP) noted:
In the case of maize, the domestic crop is expected to decline by almost 30% from an
already below average 2015 harvest and consequently imports are expected to exceed
3 million tons in the 2016/17 marketing year. Under the assumption of stable
weather conditions, South Africa is projected to return to a net exporting position
from 2017 onwards (BFAP 2016: 1).
While production issues have been seen by many as a driver of higher food pric-
es, the general economic challenges, linked to a reliance on imports and a volatile
currency, have also played a role:
The impact of the 2015/16 drought, the worst in South Africa since 1904, has
been far ranging, for producers and consumers alike. It has however not been the sole
cause of higher food prices, as the sharp depreciation of the exchange rate over the
past year has caused import parity prices to soar. Consequently, by January 2016,
the cost of a staple basket has increased by approximately 19% year on year (BFAP
2016: 39).
Cape Town has some of the most advanced import and export-oriented infra-
structure in the country in terms of ports, air links and road and rail transport.
Data is available to show the major imports and exports from Cape Town (Table
13). Among the major exports are fruit and fish. While South Africa’s major
food imports, such as cereals, enter the country through other ports, the Western
Cape did import ZAR1.43 billion worth of wheat in 2014 (CoCT 2015: 41).
Unfortunately, it is not possible to connect the city’s imports and exports to the
Cape Town food system itself.
FIGURE 26: Major South African Food Imports, 2008-2012
Source: BFAP (2013)
TABLE 13: Major Imports and Exports from Cape Town, 2014
Exports ZAR (billion) Imports ZAR (billion)
Petroleum oils 8.70 Petroleum oils 63.07
Citrus fruit 4.71 Other petroleum oils 37.29
Apples, pears, quinces 2.77 Alcohol 2.24
Grapes 2.59 Electrical 1.98
Centrifuges 1.98 Semiconductors 1.74
Diamonds 1.45 Footwear 1.50
Engine parts 1.36 Medicine 1.47
Fish fillets 1.27 Tobacco 1.10
Yachts, boats, canoes 1.01 Fish caviar 1.09
Frozen fish 1.01 Men’s clothing 1.05
Source: CoCT (2015: 43)
6.1.3 Commercial Agriculture within Cape Town
In the Western Cape province, about 11.5 million hectares of land are under cul-
tivation and five key agricultural products are produced: field crops, horticulture,
animals, animal products and aquaculture. The most productive farming areas
are concentrated in the south-western part of the province, close to Cape Town.
Also, largely as a result of the consolidation of the municipal areas and the forma-
tion of a single metropolitan region, there is a significant amount of agricultural
activity within the Cape Metropolitan Area (CMA). The main agricultural areas
within the CMA are detailed in Figure 27. A number of areas have been zoned
for food production and provided designated protection status. However, the
level of protection for most food production areas remains weak and several are
under constant threat as urban developers target open land for possible develop-
ment projects. Areas for vineyard production seem to have far greater protection
status as they are considered agriculturally productive as well as affirming of the
city’s cultural heritage.
FIGURE 27: Productive and Designated Agricultural Areas
Source: CoCT (2008, 2013)
Most of the agricultural production in the CMA is horticultural in nature. The
most important crops include potatoes, cabbages and onions as well as fruit
(Table 14). The data in Tables 14 and 15 are collected according to magisterial
district and not suburb or region, and magisterial district boundaries span or
dissect some of the key production areas detailed in Figure 27. For example, the
Philippi Horticultural Area falls within both the Mitchell’s Plain and Wynberg
districts. The Constantia vineyards fall within the Wynberg magisterial district.
This mixing of how data is collected further aggravates efforts to ascertain the
viability of specific areas, negating effective planning and governance processes
(Battersby-Lennard and Haysom 2013). Key vegetable products cover less than
15% of the productive agricultural land (calculated in hectares planted), but these
areas are vital in producing vegetables that flow into the city’s various food chan-
nels enabling a more diverse and affordable diet for its residents. The remainder
of the productive land is used for the production of grapes and apples, reflecting
the city’s embeddedness in South Africa’s export-based agricultural economy.
TABLE 14: Value of Agricultural Production in Magisterial Districts, 2007
(rand per ha)
Wheat Pota-
toes Onions Pump-
kins Carrots Cab-
bages Apples Pears Grapes
Bellville 5,114 121,858 93,136 38,286
Goodwood 87,400 30,319
Kuilsrivier 34,222 22,488 66,357 70,112 24,492
Plain 36,000 77,666 40,708 29,384
Town 2,777 72,600 15,000
West 3,368 46,666 55,378 33,391 29,463
Strand 99,533 41,556 64,407
Wynberg 73,774 57,417 25,000 46,000 47,603 76,462 59,101 25,569
Source: Data from 2007 Agricultural Census
Chickens are the most common form of livestock in the city (Table 15). In 2007,
there were over 7 million chickens in the Goodwood district alone, with net sales
of over ZAR1.3 billion. However, discerning whether these sales were derived
from chickens reared in the area or imported chickens (with sales of processed
chickens included in the data) is a significant challenge.
TABLE 15: Livestock Holdings in Magisterial Districts, 2007
Cattle Sheep Pigs Ostriches Chickens
Bellville 2,756 7,427 3,147 155 1,232,738
Goodwood 246 2,499 7,040,122
Kuilsrivier 730 311 12,764
Mitchell’s Plain 4,000 7,642
Simon’s Town 71,267
Somerset West 1,397 3,490
Strand 2,046 300 170,472
Wynberg 1,445 410 3,866 930,072
Source: Data from 2007 Agricultural Census
6.1.4 Philippi Horticultural Area
While the City of Cape Town has 13 designated and rural-zoned agricultural
areas, one that has been researched in detail is the Philippi Horticultural Area
(PHA), which has been producing food for more than 150 years (Figure 28). A
2012 report on the PHA estimated that just under 100,000 tonnes of fresh pro-
duce is grown in the PHA annually. This included over 2,000 tonnes of produce
given free to farm workers (Battersby-Lennard and Haysom 2012). The report
detailed how large volumes of “heavy-low-cost” produce (specifically cabbage,
broccoli, pumpkins and butternut) are the key products grown for the Cape
Town food system.
FIGURE 28: Philippi Horticultural Area, Cape Town
The produce from the PHA goes to markets and retail outlets in the Cape Town
food system through a variety of channels. Farmers responding to one survey
estimated that around 80% of their produce goes direct to retail outlets, about
12% to the Cape Town Fresh Produce Market (CTFPM) and about 2% straight
to informal traders. From a food system perspective, the location of the PHA and
the reduced cost of PHA-derived produce (largely due to lower transportation
costs) serve to depress food prices and deliver cheaper food to Cape Town con-
sumers. This was confirmed in a recent City of Cape Town food system report
(Battersby et al 2014). The area also provides over 3,000 jobs, particularly for
women from poor communities adjacent to the PHA (Battersby-Lennard and
Haysom 2012).
The absence of a city food governance strategy and the lack of recognition of the
importance of city-specific food assets have come to the fore in the contestations
over the viability and usefulness of the PHA. Since 2008, developers have been
targeting the area for housing. Findings from a 2008 enquiry into the area sug-
gested that while Cape Town has a desperate housing shortage, the geography
and geology of the PHA (a high water table, on a critical aquifer, and very sandy
soil), would mean that the engineering costs for a home would far exceed the
housing subsidy for low-cost housing (CoCT, 2008). Despite this, the develop-
ment application was approved. As a result, the portion of land to which the
application applied was removed from the wider PHA area. More importantly,
the urban edge was formally moved to locate the proposed development area in
urban Cape Town. Subsequently, and after much debate in the media over the
merits and flaws of such development, a further application was submitted to the
City of Cape Town. The second application is still pending with many court
cases and various city, regional and national approval bodies disagreeing on the
proposed development.
Cuff (2016) carried out an analysis of three City of Cape Town policies that have
a direct bearing on the PHA: the Urban Agriculture Policy of 2007 (UAP), the
Agricultural Land Review of 2008 (ALR) (CoCT 2008) and the Cape Town
Spatial Development Framework of 2012 (CTSDF). Following a detailed analy-
sis and key informant interviews, Cuff (2016: 42-43) concluded:
The dynamics of decision-making are impacted by the relations between stakehold-
ers, the knowledge they possess and the influences determining the shape and use of
knowledge. These factors were all found to have the potential to facilitate disjunc-
tures between policy and practice. Decision-making within the PHA, a contested
space, is impacted by multidimensional institutional factors that shape knowledge
and how it is used and influenced. Knowledge is created through informal alliances
between politicians, the ultimate decision-makers, and private policy stakeholders,
developers and private interests [and] these factors are assumed by the research to
influence the types of knowledge used by politicians land use decisions in the PHA.
6.2 Urban Agriculture
A 2008 AFSUN survey in three low-income areas in Cape Town found that less
than 5% of households grow any of their own food (Battersby 2011). Letts (2013)
argues that while food gardeners in the poorer communities of Cape Town are
slightly more food secure, the reason is that they have alternative income streams.
An estimated 50% of all income contributions in four sites reviewed was derived
from some form of grant or social protection (Letts 2013: 40).
In 2007, after nearly five years of planning and policy planning, the City adopted
an Urban Agriculture Policy and established an Urban Agriculture Unit (Visser
2012). The Strategic Development Plan for the Promotion and Development of
Urban Agriculture in the City of Cape Town has several focus areas including
awareness and advocacy for urban agriculture; research, knowledge and technol-
ogy transfer; production and marketing of horticulture and urban livestock; and
youth engagement (CoCT 2013b). In addition, the City has a Food Gardens
Policy in Support of Poverty Alleviation and Reduction, which seeks to address
food insecurity through the establishment of sustainable food gardens. The Food
Gardens Policy has effectively eclipsed the Urban Agriculture Policy. The impli-
cations of this are that the Food Gardens Policy focuses largely on poverty alle-
viation programmes and the wider food system work that was being done by the
Urban Agriculture Unit has fallen away.
According to a 2014 City of Cape Town report, the City supports 201 commu-
nity gardens with 1,849 beneficiaries. The vast majority are vegetable gardens,
with just five receiving support for livestock activities. These projects are widely
dispersed across the city, with at least one project in 68 of the city’s wards. They
are overwhelmingly concentrated in areas of low income and high unemploy-
ment. Another 38 projects are supported by the Social Development and Early
Childhood Development Directorate. These projects have received compost or
manure, sawdust, seed packs, hosepipes, rakes, spades, forks and wheelbarrows
(Battersby et al 2014). Figure 29 shows the distribution of the supported urban
agriculture projects and that they are clustered in lower-income (lighter shaded)
According to programme officers at the Western Province Department of Agri-
culture, the Province supports over 100 community gardens in low-income
areas with 756 beneficiaries. An estimated 93% of the projects produce veg-
etables, with a small number engaged in raising pigs and chickens and producing
mushrooms and honey (Battersby et al 2014). An assessment of six provincial
community urban agriculture projects in 2014 found that they were typically
located on marginal lands on or next to government properties such as schools,
clinics, courts or markets (Kroll 2014). Participants reported harsh environments
with strong winds causing sand blasting to crops, as well as pests, flooding and
theft, all resulting in crop losses. Intensive agricultural inputs are required to
compensate for the marginal nature of the land and poor soils. Water access is
a recurrent problem. The sites are small and typically surrounded by security
fences to prevent theft or vandalism. Participants were mainly older people with
the average age being 50. Most were migrants and had grown up helping parents
and grandparents with farming in the rural areas of the Eastern Cape province
and thus had some experience of agriculture. The projects generate very small
incomes for a small number of people.
FIGURE 29: Location of Urban Agriculture Projects
Source: Battersby et al, 2014
FIGURE 30: Nyanga People’s Garden Centre, Cape Town
A number of NGOs promote and support urban agriculture, including Abalimi
Bezekhaya, SEED and Soil for Life (Letts 2013). Abalimi Bezekhaya supports
over 200 gardens in low-income areas. Since 2008, it has run a Harvest of Hope
Programme, which seeks to provide a market for their farmers through an organ-
ic vegetable box sales scheme. SEED supports 100 home gardeners in Mitch-
ell’s Plain and facilitates the Mitchell’s Plain Food Freedom Initiative aimed at
educating and supporting home gardeners based on permaculture principles
(Brown 2013). The NGO has grown food in 40 schools and has trained more
than 80 young people through an accredited permaculture course. Since starting
its home garden project five years ago, Soil for Life has trained 1,600 people in
building soil fertility, conserving water, utilizing available resources and ensur-
ing no harm to human or environmental health.
There are a few urban agriculture projects in wealthier parts of the city, such as
the Oranjezicht City Farm, which describes itself as a Cape Town farm project
(Figure 31). Such projects generate much publicity but how the benefits translate
across income groups is unknown (Battersby 2011).
FIGURE 31: Oranjezicht City Farm
6.3 Food Processing
Battersby et al (2014) report that there is a large food processing industry in Cape
Town with over 500 processors recorded in the City’s registration for health
clearance. The food processing sector provides a wide variety of foods to retailers
and wholesalers within the city and beyond. Most of the major South African
food processing companies have factories in Cape Town. The food processors
produce a wide variety of products including dried meat (biltong), confection-
ary, cookies, chips (crisps), spices and condiments, beverages, bread and cakes,
and fish and seafood. Many small businesses also provide processed foods for
the Cape Town market and beyond, although economies of scale and corporate
business strategies make it difficult for smaller companies to compete in some
areas of the market. For example, few independent bakeries produce bread as a
result of the dominance of Pioneer (Sasko, Duens), Tiger (Albany) and Premier
(Blue Ribbon) in the bread market (Figure 32).
FIGURE 32: Sasko (Pioneer Foods) Bread Delivery
The food processors are clustered in key nodes in industrial areas in the city
including Montague Gardens, Killarney, Epping Industrial, Cape Town Har-
bour and, to a lesser extent, Westlake, Brackenfell, Athlone and along Voortrek-
ker Road. The spatial distribution of these producers highlights the clustering
along main distribution routes and in designated industrial areas, which are typi-
cal areas for food system activities, such as the main municipal market (Figure
In an unpublished report commissioned by a restaurant chain, the Cape Town
processors reported a global procurement system using multiple transport options
including road, air and sea, with products at different stages in the processing
cycle moving around the globe. A product’s inputs could be sourced from India,
China, South Africa and other Southern African countries and its dry ingre-
dients processed in Cape Town. It could then be shipped to Johannesburg for
the adding of wet ingredients (also sourced from different regions) and then,
in final form, shipped locally and internationally for sale and use in the chain’s
many stores. Such practices were argued to make economic sense. Cape Town’s
processes are active in these networks, supplying both local and international
consumers (Haysom unpublished).
FIGURE 33: Location of Food Processing Businesses
Source: Battersby et al (2014)
6.4 Food Retailing
6.4.1 Cape Town Fresh Produce Market (CTFPM)
The term Fresh Produce Market (FPM) is used in South Africa to describe a spe-
cific market structure. FPMs are not “town square” markets where small traders
sell produce. Instead, they are formal trading hubs where large-volume trading
is carried out between commercial growers or grower co-operatives and market
agents who purchase produce and sell it to wholesalers and retailers. These mar-
kets began as meeting places for trade between producers and consumers, under
the control of a government body or official (Madevu 2006), but now include
National Fresh Produce Markets (NFPMs) as well as privately owned markets
not controlled by (municipal) bylaws (Reardon et al 2003). Large-scale commer-
cial farmers dominate the majority of the supply to the NFPMs with between
80% and 90% of sales. The markets are controlled by the local authorities, with
powers to run the markets delegated by the provincial or central government.
The City of Cape Town outsourced the operations of the Cape Town Fresh
Produce Market (CTFPM) to a private company in 2004 (MBB 2006). The
CTFPM retains the operating status designated to all municipal markets despite
its privatized status. This means that it operates as a commission market (set at
a maximum of 5% to the market and a maximum of 7% to the sales agent).
CTFPM is one of the two main sources of fruit and vegetables in the Cape
Town food system with the other being the supermarkets’ supply chains. Figure
34 shows the flows of food from the CTFPM into Cape Town’s food system.
Wholesalers and processors are the main groups buying from the market (Louw
et al 2006). Some retailers also purchase through the CTFPM, either directly or
through buying agents. On the trading floor of the CTFPM, all transactions are
managed through a buyer’s card rather than cash.
FIGURE 34: Flows of Food from the CTFPM
Source: Jackson (2010)
Within the city administration, there is a belief that the CTFPM is no longer
useful to the City, or less useful than it was. However, while the overall trade
contribution of the CTFPM is declining as a result of the increasing share of the
market held by supermarkets, its contribution to the Cape Town food system
remains critical. In 2013, for example, the CTFPM supplied about 40% of Cape
Town’s fresh produce (CTFPM 2013). Sales at the CTFPM are dominated by
four key products: potatoes, onions, tomatoes and bananas (which account for
64% of all trade).
The CTFPM is also a key site for informal traders to purchase produce (Figure
35). There are two areas most frequented by informal traders. One is a desig-
nated area – the People’s Market – within the boundaries of the CTFPM where
transactions are cash-based and accessible for bulk purchases (Figure 36). The
People’s Market also sells directly to the public. Often transporters will go to
the market and collect fresh produce for traders operating across the city. The
second area frequented by informal traders is on the road outside the CTFPM
where informal wholesalers operate.
FIGURE 35: Cape Town Fresh Produce Market
Source: M. Salamone
FIGURE 36: The People’s Market at the CTFPM
Source: M. Salamone
6.4.2 Supermarket Dominance of Formal Food Retail
The food system in South Africa has undergone rapid transformation in the
last two decades with the expansion and growing control of supermarket chains
(Crush and Frayne 2010). Four major companies increasingly dominate the food
system, from production to point of sale, accounting for 97% of sales within
the national formal food retail sector: Shoprite Checkers (around 38% of the
formal food retail market), Pick n Pay (31%), Spar (20%) and Woolworths (8%)
(GAIN 2012). In a public written submission to the South African Competition
Commission investigating market dominance in the food retail sector, Pick n
Pay used published annual reports to detail the market share of these four lead-
ing supermarkets in terms of turnover (Figure 37) (Nortons Inc 2016). Total
turnover amounted to an estimated ZAR220 billion (USD16.2 billion) in 2014.
FIGURE 37: Supermarket Food Sales Turnover
Source: Nortons Inc (2016: 20)
Most supermarket chains make use of central purchasing processes through large-
scale distribution centres (Figure 38). The business model of the central purchas-
ing approach is to ensure bulk contracts through offtake agreements, exclusive
trade agreements, centralized buying and detailed contractual stipulations on
issues such as guaranteed supply, farm pre-washing and packaging, and cold chain
conditions. This externalization of food procurement activities often excludes
smaller farmers. As the supermarkets dominate the food system further, these
small producers are unable to find market entry (Vink and van Rooyen, 2009).
Figure 39 shows the spatial expansion of supermarkets in Cape Town between
1994 and 2013. Prior to 2003, supermarkets were clustered in high-income areas
of the city. The last decade has seen a process of increasing diffusion into middle
and lower-income areas. Nevertheless, the spatial distribution of supermarkets
in Cape Town remains uneven and unequal. Residents of the highest-income
areas have almost eight times as many supermarkets per household as those in the
lowest-income areas (Battersby and Peyton 2014: 158) (Figure 40). The city’s
supermarkets cluster along major roads, and especially arterial routes for taxis
and buses. Of the 269 stores mapped in 2013, nearly three-quarters were located
within 200 metres of a main road (Battersby and Peyton 2014). This strategy
expands the spatial reach of individual stores, enabling them to draw customers
from other parts of the city. Supermarkets clustered around busy transport hubs
also cater to lower-income commuters.
FIGURE 38: Shoprite Distribution Centre, Brackenfell
FIGURE 39: Growth of Supermarkets in Cape Town 1994-2013
Source: Battersby et al (2014)
FIGURE 40: Number of Supermarkets by Income Quintile
Source: Battersby and Peyton (2014: 158)
Recent supermarket expansion has focused on the low-income mass market,
with the best example being Shoprite’s Usave chain stores (Figure 41).
FIGURE 41: Spatial Distribution of Usaves in Cape Town
Source: Battersby and Peyton (2014)
Supermarkets mostly enter low-income areas as anchor tenants in new mini-mall
shopping developments. These mini-malls often have supermarket-owned fast-
food subsidiaries as well as other fast-food outlets. The development of mini-
malls with a supermarket as an anchor client is part of a township development
process where the City funds infrastructure such as roads, sewerage systems and
other related services. Although Usaves are located in lower-income areas, they
are still not in the poorest parts of the city. There are almost 2.5 times as many
Usave stores per household in areas in the second-lowest-income quintile com-
pared to lowest-income quintile areas (Battersby and Peyton 2014). Usaves stock
a more limited range of products and less fresh produce than the supermarkets in
wealthier areas. The primary outcome is that residents of low-income areas with
supermarkets are gaining more access to calorie-dense, nutritionally-poor foods
than to fresh produce (Temple and Steyn 2009).
6.4.3 Informal Food Economy
As noted above, food trade is a major component of Cape Town’s informal econ-
omy. The informal food economy plays a major role in making food accessible to
low-income households and has a very distinctive micro-geography to maximize
accessibility. Figure 42, for example, presents the findings of a mapping exercise
of informal food vendors conducted by AFSUN in 2013 in a low-income area of
the city (Ward 34 in Philippi). Just under 80% of the vendors were general deal-
ers/spazas selling a variety of processed foodstuffs (39%), meat traders (20%) and
fruit and vegetable traders (19%) (Battersby 2016). There is dense food retailing
around the Philippi train station and leading up to Sheffield Road (see Figure
42). The road is a major thoroughfare for people using trains and local informal
taxis to get to and from work. This particular area is dominated by small-scale
cooked meat stands and sellers of take-away foods. By far the most important
reason given by traders for choosing a particular location was proximity to pass-
ing customers (Figure 43). The busiest times of day are commuting peaks (Fig-
ure 44) and the busiest days of the week are Friday, Saturday and Sunday. A
number of businesses only open on weekends. Spaza shops tend to be scattered
throughout the area, serving a very local customer base (Figures 45 and 46).
In another mapping study, James (2013) plotted the location of informal food
vendors operating in the vicinity of the Mitchell’s Plain Public Transport Inter-
change, which includes a bus terminus, taxi stands and a railway station. The
study found that 48% were selling fruit and vegetables, 43% were selling pre-
packaged food and 9% were selling cooked food (Table 16) (James 2013).
FIGURE 42: Location of Food Vendors in Ward 34
Source: Battersby (2016: 9)
FIGURE 43: Reasons for Choosing Trading Location
Source: Battersby (2016: 13)
FIGURE 44: Peak Business Hours for Informal Vendors
Source: Battersby (2016: 15)
FIGURE 45: Spaza in Low-Income Area in Cape Town
Source: M. Salamone
FIGURE 46: Spaza Owned by Migrants
Source: Thom Pierce
TABLE 16: Types of Food Vendor at Mitchell’s Plain Interchange
– north
– west
– south
terminus Bridge Station
entrance Total % of
Fruit /
vegetables 8 5 7 2 4 0 26 48.1
food 4 2 6 7 1 3 23 42.6
Prepared food 2 0 0 3 0 0 5 9.3
Total 14 7 15 12 5 3 54 100.0
Source: James (2016)
Informal food traders are extremely responsive to the needs of their low-income
customers. This is evident in the types of products sold, the practice of bulk
breaking to enable affordability and address storage challenges, and the offering
of services such as food on credit, especially to regular customers. Customers
may be able to get cheaper prices per kilogram at supermarkets, but are often
unable to afford the unit sizes on offer (Cooke 2012).
Kroll (forthcoming) challenges the dichotomy between formal and informal
retail, suggesting that the trade practices of the informal traders connect directly
to the formal sector. Thus, while their structures and business processes may be
less formal, informal traders maintain mutually beneficial linkages with formal
suppliers. For example, formal wholesalers are the main source of produce for
informal vendors, followed by supermarkets and fresh produce markets (Figure
47). Purchasing is frequent because of limited transport, storage and refrigera-
tion, and also to ensure high quality of perishables (Figure 48).
FIGURE 47: Sources of Produce Sold by Informal Food Vendors
Source: AFSUN
FIGURE 48: Frequency of Food Purchased by Informal Vendors
Source: Battersby (2016: 19)
7.1 Levels of Household Food Insecurity
A national South African survey in 2013 found that 26% of the country’s popu-
lation regularly experienced hunger and a further 28% were at risk of hunger
(Shisana et al 2013). The study disaggregated the data to reveal the levels of food
insecurity in urban and rural formal households and urban and rural informal
households (Figure 49). Levels of hunger and hunger risk were extremely high in
urban informal areas (at 36% and 32% respectively). Despite its apparent wealth,
Cape Town is highly unequal in terms of food security with many areas of South
Africa’s second largest city experiencing high levels of food insecurity. Cape
Town’s urban food insecurity challenge is multi-dimensional with determin-
ing factors including the size of the city, its urbanization pattern, the legacy of
apartheid, and economic marginalization.
FIGURE 49: Experience and Risk of Hunger in South Africa, 2013
Source: Shisana et al (2013)
A 2008 AFSUN survey focused on three low-income areas of the city: Ocean
View, Ward 34 in Philippi, and Ward 95 in Khayelitsha (Battersby 2011). Using
Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance (FANTA) Project assessment tools to
measure food security, the study examined the following (Coates et al 2007):
Experience hunger
At risk of hunger
In the three areas combined, as many as 80% of the households were either mod-
erately or severely food insecure (Figure 50). The highest levels of food insecu-
rity were in the poorest area, Ward 95 in Khayelitsha.
FIGURE 50: Levels of Food Insecurity in Low-Income Areas
Source: Battersby (2011)
In another study, Cooke (2012) explored the lived experiences of food access
in Manenberg (Ward 45), classified by the City as a lower-middle-income
area. Here, 64% of the households were severely or moderately food insecure.
The lower prevalence of food insecurity compared to the three AFSUN study
areas supports the argument that food insecurity is directly related to house-
hold income. The severity of the food insecurity problem in low-income areas is
illustrated by a third study carried out in Du Noon, Nyanga and Masiphumelele
(Crush and Tawodzera 2011). This study focused on the food security situation
of Zimbabwean migrants in the city and found that 84% of households were
moderately or severely food insecure (Figure 51). Low and intermittent house-
hold income, tenuous and exploitative documentation processes, and a wider net
of dependants (with migrants sending remittances to families in Zimbabwe) all
contribute to heightened food insecurity.
Battersby (2011) found that household food insecurity was also characterized by
a lack of dietary diversity. Using the household dietary diversity score (HDDS),
the study found that most households had consumed food from only six of 12
possible food groups in the previous 24 hours and the six food groups were largely
non-nutritive: including foods made with oil, fat or butter (72% of households),
sugar (83%) and tea and coffee (83%) (Figure 52). The HDDS was even worse
in migrant households with a mean score of only 5. Healthier foods such as fruit,
eggs and fish were almost entirely absent from the diet of most migrant house-
holds (Crush and Tawodzera 2011).
FIGURE 51: Levels of Food Insecurity among Migrant Households
Source: Crush and Tawodzera (2011)
FIGURE 52: Foods Eaten by Low-Income Households
Source: Battersby (2011)
A third component in the measurement of household food insecurity is shown by
the number of months per year in which households are adequately provisioned
with food. Using the MAHFP, households were adequately provisioned for only
9.2 months per year (Battersby 2011). Most low-income households experience
food shortages in January and around June (Figure 53). The January shortages
are related to family-related obligations over the festive season (including travel
to rural homes), and school fees and uniforms at the beginning of the new school
year. In addition, most businesses close down from mid-December to the second
week in January (the traditional “builder’s holiday”), reducing income and casual
labour opportunities. The peak shortages in June are linked to adverse weather
conditions in winter that stop industries from operating at full capacity, as well as
increases in other costs such as heating fuel (PACSA 2016).
FIGURE 53: Months of Inadequate Food Provisioning
Source: Battersby (2011)
7.2 Determinants of Food Insecurity
7.2.1 Household Income
There is a close relationship between employment and household food security.
The legacy of apartheid means that the majority of the poor are still economi-
cally and spatially marginalized (Battersby et al 2014). In the absence of regular
income, households are bound to experience food shortages and consequently
become food insecure. Given that most poor urban households are food pur-
chasers not producers, income is essential for household food security. For most
of the poor, employment is unpredictable and transitory. In the AFSUN sur-
vey, only 52% of the working-age population were employed (Battersby 2011).
Limited and fluctuating household income forces people to engage in a difficult
balancing act, trying to ensure that essential costs are covered while ensuring a
nutritious diet. As Abrahams (2016) argues, “food is one of the few discretionary
costs, costs for education, transport, etc. remain fixed – as income declines, food
items are the first things discounted.
AFSUN survey results indicate that even in low-income areas of the city, 80%
of households in the lowest-income tercile were food insecure compared to only
46% in the upper-income tercile (Battersby 2011) (Figure 54). Migrant house-
holds with lower incomes were also more likely to experience greater food inse-
curity (Crush and Tawodzera 2011) (Figure 55). Only 2% of households with
an income below ZAR500 per month were food secure, compared with 23%
of those with incomes between ZAR3,001 and ZAR3,500 and 62% of those in
the ZAR4,001 to ZAR4,500 income category.
FIGURE 54: Household Income and Food Insecurity
Source: Battersby (2011)
FIGURE 55: Income and Food Insecurity among Migrant Households
Source: Crush and Tawodzera (2011)
7.2.2 Social Protection
South Africa has a well-developed social protection system, including social
grants involving cash transfers (old age grant, care dependency grant, disabil-
ity grant, child support grant), free basic services (water and electricity), free
primary health care and some no-fee schools. The proportion of South Afri-
can households who access grants is large, and increases annually. Households
receiving at least one form of social grant rose from 30% (of the population) in
2003 to 44% in 2010 to 46% in 2015. Grants may play an important role in miti-
gating food insecurity but this still needs to be established (Devereux 2016). The
high levels of food insecurity in Cape Town certainly raise questions about their
effectiveness. Well-targeted grant systems may improve food security status but
households could be using grant funds for other essential household costs, with
food spend falling behind. Nagdee (2004) found that poor households seeking
debt relief channeled the greatest proportion of the grants towards the purchase
of food (44%). Jacobs’ (2008) study of the effectiveness of the child support grant
in meeting children’s needs in Gugulethu found that in most poor households,
the grant was incorporated into household income.
School feeding schemes are one area where social protection mechanisms are said
to be making a difference for children of school-going age (Swartz 2009). In the
Western Cape, over 430,000 students in 1,026 schools receive a meal every day.
These schemes alleviate short-term hunger, enhance learning capacity, improve
school attendance and address micro-nutrient deficiencies among school chil-
dren (Battersby et al 2014).
7.2.3 Sources of Food
The AFSUN study found that most low-income households in Cape Town
access food through purchase (Figure 56) (Battersby 2011). Supermarkets were
the most common source of food (used by 94% of households). Seventy-five
percent reported sourcing food from small shops, restaurants and take-aways,
and 66% from informal markets or street-food sellers (Battersby 2011). How-
ever, the frequency with which these sources were patronized varied with many
households only shopping at supermarkets once a month for bulk purchase of
staples such as maize flour. Informal sources were patronized several times a
week, which confirms that the informal sector makes food accessible to low-
income households.
FIGURE 56: Food Sources of Low-Income Households
Source: Battersby 2011
Most of the evidence relating to food insecurity and its relationship to the food
system in Cape Town is based on case studies in low-income parts of the city.
The Hungry Cities Partnership has therefore conducted a recent city-wide sur-
vey of household food security and food sourcing patterns. The survey results
will be published in a forthcoming HCP Report, which will add considerably to
the picture painted in this report and provide a more nuanced, city-wide picture
of Cape Town’s food system and the governance challenges it poses.
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City asset or potential development node? Summary Report” African Centre for
Cities, University of Cape Town.
Battersby, J. (2011). “Urban Food Insecurity in Cape Town, South Africa: An
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Geography 94: 141-159.
Battersby, J. and Peyton, S. (2014). “The Geography of Supermarkets in Cape
Town: Supermarket Expansion and Food Access” Urban Forum 25: 153-164.
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Cape Town is South Africa’s second largest city and plays a critical role
in the national economy. Despite its apparent wealth, Cape Town is very
unequal in terms of food security with many areas experiencing high
levels of food insecurity. The city’s urban food insecurity challenge is
multi-dimensional with determining factors including the size of the city,
its urbanization pattern, the legacy of apartheid, and economic margin-
alization. South Africa’s apartheid legacy is a food system with high levels
of concentration in all aspects of the food value chain. For example,
there are 5-6,000 wheat farmers but the four main millers control 87%
of the market and are integrated with plant bakers. The food system
in South Africa has undergone rapid transformation in the last two
decades with the expansion and growing control of supermarket chains.
Engaging in similar activities as the formal food sector is an active and
vibrant informal system. The only difference is effectively one of visibility,
in terms of policy and law. The informal sector remains largely illegal,
despite the fact that it and the formal sector in Cape Town are directly
connected and often reliant on one another. Food trade is a significant
component of Cape Town’s informal economy, which plays a major role in
making food accessible to low-income households and has a distinctive
micro-geography to maximize accessibility.
... These networks include the pro-organic organisations, that are increasingly gaining recognition, and those in favour of food labelling and certification, such as Fair Trade and the Forest Stewardship Council . They echo and connect with CSOs, NGOs and community-based organisations which have been advocating for urban farming, or supporting and developing urban farming initiatives as a way to deal with food insecurity, foster new activities, improve livelihoods and incorporate urban dynamics into the food policy space (Battersby and Marshak, 2013;Haysom et al., 2017;Khan, 2017;Paganini et al., 2018;Kanosvamhira and Tevera, 2020), even if its effective impacts remain limited or uncertain (Crush et al. 2011;Khumalo and Sibanda, 2019;Olivier, 2019). This movement supporting urban farming contributed to its formal recognition, like in Cape Town where an urban agriculture unit was established within the municipality. ...
... Stringent standards requirements by supermarkets and consistent requests for the supply of large volumes of products have brought about the emergence of preferred networks of suppliers and the increasing exclusion of smallholders from these networks. Peyton et al., 2015;Haysom et al., 2017;. Thereby, the growing expansion of supermarkets comes together with the squeezing out of small retailers and the continued shrinkage of smallholders' supply outlets, resulting in the consolidation of big businesses. ...
... There is growing evidence of urban planning prejudices in favour of private business concerns as well as the 'capture' of public agency by private interests. The urban food system thus seems to be characterised by the relative absence of food system planning which has further abetted the expansion of big food corporates and consolidated their power within the system Haysom et al., 2017;Competition Commission, 2019;Haysom et al. 2020). ...
South Africa presents a paradox of a country which is nationally food secure, with a wealth of institutions and targeted food policies, a strong research system and developed social welfare programmes, but where under- and over-nutrition persist. This paradox has major consequences for the people and the economy, and the importance of food and nutrition insecurity has resulted in massive research investment and analyses over the last decades. This was a major incentive for engaging in a systematic literature review with the objectives of providing a synthesis of what is known with regard to food system governance in South Africa, highlighting the main governance challenges, and identifying persistent knowledge gaps.
... Urban food insecurity is now recognised as a major development theme in rapidly growing cities of the global south. No longer considered only a rural problem (Crush & Frayne, 2011), food systems in cities are increasingly under scrutiny (Battersby, 2011;Frayne et al., 2009;Haysom et al., 2017). Rapidly growing cities face two key transformational processes: transformations in the urban food environment, including globalisation of the retail sector and the rise of supermarkets (Battersby, 2017;Crush & Frayne, 2011;Peyton et al., 2015;Wanyama et al., 2019), and transformations in consumer diets towards consumption of energy-dense, nutrient poor, highly processed and readily available foods (Forouhi & Unwin, 2019;Monteiro, Moubarac, Cannon, Ng, & Popkin, 2013;Steyn et al., 2012). ...
... Socio-economic dynamics of food insecurity are wellresearched, including reliance on informal housing and infrastructure (Drimie et al., 2013), informal sector employment (Blekking et al., 2020;Crush & Frayne, 2011;Haysom et al., 2017), and education (Brown, 2018). Poverty is a main cause of food insecurity (Bharti et al., 2019), especially in cities. ...
... The physical food environment includes physical locations where people may produce food, such as urban gardens. The geographic variability of different food retail types is important to the physical food environment, including formal retail sources, such as supermarkets, and informal sources, such as temporary and semi-permanent small and roadside stores (Battersby & Peyton, 2014;Haysom et al., 2017;Greenberg, 2017;Lake, 2018). The macro-level food environment includes distal factors such as advertising policies, trade, and geopolitics, but it is difficult to analyse geographic variation in these macro-level interactions within a city (Battersby, 2011). ...
Although progress has been made in addressing hunger and poor diets in African cities, many urban residents still suffer from food insecurity, and there is large heterogeneity within cities. We examine spatial variations in hunger and dietary quality using a representative study of 983 households and 440 food retailers in a South African secondary city. Substantial variation existed both between and within urban neighborhoods: high-income neighborhoods were not free of hunger, and low-income neighborhoods varied in diet quality according to individual characteristics. After controlling for income and gender, individual characteristics including access to consumer technologies for food transportation and storage, and informal food assistance from neighbors, were protective against hunger and poor quality diets. Results suggest that meaningful variations exist at smaller geographic units than the city-level or neighborhood-level statistics typically reported in food security research. Average socioeconomic status of neighborhoods may not be a sufficient proxy for their food insecurity, as poor areas vary substantially in their food access options and food choices. Precision estimates of hunger and poor diets are needed to target interventions at those neighborhoods and those households with the greatest need, and to tailor interventions for the specific and different needs of urban residents within neighborhoods.
... This is particularly relevant when assessing sarcopenia in LMIC's that present with an increasing double burden of malnutrition, which refers to the co-existence of undernutrition and overweight/obesity [14]. In particular, SA women have the highest prevalence of overweight and obesity in sub-Saharan Africa (68%) [15,16], which is occurring simultaneously with 64% of households experiencing food insecurity [17]. Furthermore, food insecurity is an upstream determinant of behaviours such as diet and physical activity (PA), which are in turn associated with an increased risk of overweight and obesity [17,18]. ...
... In particular, SA women have the highest prevalence of overweight and obesity in sub-Saharan Africa (68%) [15,16], which is occurring simultaneously with 64% of households experiencing food insecurity [17]. Furthermore, food insecurity is an upstream determinant of behaviours such as diet and physical activity (PA), which are in turn associated with an increased risk of overweight and obesity [17,18]. The presence of obesity coupled with sarcopenia has recently been termed 'sarcopenic obesity' or 'sarcobesity', and has been shown to exacerbate cardiometabolic risk and functional limitations [6,19]. ...
... National data from SA reports that 26% of the population regularly experience hunger and a further 28% are at risk of hunger, with access to food, household income and social protection (i.e. social grants for child support) all determining factors of food security [17]. Furthermore, socioeconomic status affects behavioural (i.e. ...
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Background High rates of food insecurity, obesity and obesity-related comorbidities in ageing South African (SA) women may amplify the risk of developing sarcopenic obesity. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence and correlates of sarcopenic obesity and its diagnostic components [grip strength, appendicular skeletal muscle mass (ASM) and body mass index (BMI)] in older SA women from a low-income setting. Methods This cross-sectional study recruited black SA women between the ages of 60–85 years (n = 122) from a low-income community. Testing included a fasting blood sample (markers of cardiometabolic risk, HIV), whole body and regional muscle and fat mass (dual-energy absorptiometry x-ray), anthropometry, blood pressure, functional movement tests, current medication use, demographic and health questionnaires, physical activity (PA; accelerometery), household food insecurity access scale, and a one-week quantified food frequency questionnaire. Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) criteria (grip strength and ASM, adjusted for BMI) were used to classify sarcopenia. Participants with sarcopenia alongside a BMI of > 30.0 kg/m² were classified as having sarcopenic obesity. Prevalence using other criteria (European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People, Asian Working Group for Sarcopenia and the International Working Group for Sarcopenia) were also explored. Results The prevalence of sarcopenia was 27.9%, which comprised of sarcopenia without obesity (3.3%) and sarcopenic obesity (24.6%). Other classification criteria showed that sarcopenia ranged from 0.8–14.7%, including 0.8–9.8% without obesity and 0–4.9% with sarcopenic obesity. Using multivariate-discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA) those with sarcopenic obesity presented with a descriptive profile of higher C-reactive protein, waist circumference, food security and sedentary time than women without sarcopenic obesity (p = 0.046). A similar profile described women with low BMI-adjusted grip strength (p < 0.001). Conclusions The majority of women with sarcopenia were also obese (88%). We show a large discrepancy in the diagnostic criteria and the potential for significantly underestimating the prevalence of sarcopenia if BMI is not adjusted for. The main variables common to women with sarcopenic obesity were higher food security, lower PA and chronic inflammation. Our data highlights the importance of addressing obesity within these low-income communities to ensure the prevention of sarcopenic obesity and that quality of life is maintained with ageing.
... Cape Towns' food system is characterised by export-oriented supply chains, supermarkets, and commercial farmers using high-external-input agriculture [48]. Almost all Capetonians rely on supermarkets for some of their food [49]. The frequency with which stores are used varies among households. ...
... Such households only shop at supermarkets once a month for staples such as maize flour, while informal stores are used several times a week for fresh produce. Very few lower-income Capetonians participate in urban agriculture, which is attributed to a lack of necessary inputs such as land, water, seedlings, compost, and time [49]. However, the existing policy framework to address food security fails to acknowledge the role of the informal sector in ensuring food security for the urban poor [51]. ...
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Globally, the informal food sector has been the recipient of exclusionary urban policies, despite its dominant role in urban life. This study examined the contributions of the informal food sector to food flows during the COVID-19 lockdown in Cape Town, South Africa. An ethnographic research method consisting of in-depth interviews and participant observations was used to gather data between April and November 2020. The data were thematically analysed. Corporate retailers and informal vendors managed food flows through the city prior to COVID-19. Due to the lockdown regulations, food flows through the informal sector ceased. The situation resulted in job loss and increased food insecurity. During this challenging period, the informal sector transformed food flows by facilitating sustainable urban agriculture, food aid programmes, and community change. Although the sector can hinder urban modernisation, the current study findings showed that the informal food sector is a buffer for meeting urban sustainability needs. Regulatory frameworks that embrace inclusive governance approaches are highly recommended.
... Studies show that 90 % of people in Cape Town purchase food from supermarkets (31,32) . Therefore, retail food prices for the food items were obtained online from the national websites of three national supermarkets namely, Pick n Pay, Checkers and Shoprite. ...
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Food-based dietary guidelines promote consumption of a variety of nutritious foods for optimal health and prevention of chronic disease. However, adherence to these guidelines is challenging because of high food costs. The present study aimed to determine the nutrient density of foods relative to cost in South Africa, with the aim to identify foods within food groups with the best nutritional value per cost. A checklist of 116 food items was developed to record the type, unit, brand and cost of foods. Food prices were obtained from the websites of three national supermarkets and the average cost per 100 g edible portion was used to calculate cost per 100 kcal (418 kJ) for each food item. Nutrient content of the food items was obtained from the South African Food Composition Tables. Nutrient density was calculated using the Nutrient Rich Food (NRF9.3) Index. Nutrient density relative to cost was calculated as NRF9.3/price per 100 kcal. Vegetables and fruits had the highest NRF9.3 score and cost per 100 kcal. Overall, pulses had the highest nutritional value per cost. Fortified maizemeal porridge and bread had the best nutritional value per cost within the starchy food group. Foods with the least nutritional value per cost were fats, oils, foods high in fat and sugar, and foods and drinks high in sugar. Analysis of nutrient density and cost of foods can be used to develop tools to guide low-income consumers to make healthier food choices by identifying foods with the best nutritional value per cost.
... For Cape Town, results obtained within the larger project showed that urban agriculture is an activity of passion, motivated by attitudes towards a healthy lifestyle or encouraged through NGO affiliation, rather than being viewed as a reasonable livelihood strategy. Previous research in Cape Town had already highlighted that the role of urban agriculture in food insecure communities plays a limited role in its contribution to household incomes Haysom et al. 2017), but that it is an activity that fosters social capital and community-building Olivier, 2018;Battersby & Marshak, 2016). Results obtained through the UFISAMO baseline survey reconfirmed this hypothesis . ...
The world’s rapid urbanisation has presented multiple challenges to societies and the environment and strained the sustainability and equity of urban food systems. In discussions on the future of the world’s cities and their food security, urban agriculture has gained attention for its potential to contribute to food supply and dietary diversity, generate income for urban producers, and provide various multifunctional benefits such as environmental services, education, and community building. The dissertation followed a conceptual approach that applies a food systems perspective on urban agriculture and uses urban agriculture as a means to identify food justice patterns. In addition, this thesis contributes to participatory action research methodology by shifting focus to the concept of democratisation processes in research. Co-research is a more radical and inclusive form of participatory action research that involves actors and groups from marginalised communities in all research steps. Communities are involved in the study design, problem posing, decision-making around methodology, data collection, analysis and triangulation, and scaling of activities. This process fosters ownership of the gathered results through mutual and transformative learning, and hence, could become more valuable than the results themselves. The food system in Cape Town is highly segregated, as is the city itself: the legacy of apartheid-era planning left an affluent and prosperous city centre surrounded by lower-income areas populated largely by People of Colour who face daily challenges in accessing food. Urban agriculture is practised in the townships of Cape Town by hundreds of farmers—most of them People of Colour, unemployed, elderly, female home growers—and thousands of backyard growers who cultivate a variety of vegetables mostly on small plots. The food gardens are either on public or private land: land is leased for short periods from public institutions such as schools or clinics or leased from municipalities, which is a lengthy and—for many farmers—opaque process. NGOs, with support from the Municipality, introduced urban agriculture as a poverty alleviation strategy to combat high rates of food security in the marginalised parts of the city. Decades of support have hampered the establishment of community-driven food solutions and led to dependencies on NGOs for inputs, marketing, and acquisition of new knowledge. These farming activities play an insignificant role when it comes to household contribution. Food is produced in highly confined and troubled spaces in informal settlements, almost exclusively for a niche market of middle/upper class consumers in the wealthier city centre. Maputo’s food system is strongly influenced by food imports from neighbouring South Africa, by its rapid growth, and by migration from the rural areas of the country where selfsustaining family farming is a primary livelihood strategy. In the urban and peri-urban area of Mozambique’s capital, the zonas verdes (green zones) were established to combat the city’s severe food insecurity crisis after the colonial era. These horticultural production sites have remained vibrant production areas. Urban agriculture is largely commercialised and plays a key role supplying the city with specific horticultural products, mainly cabbage and lettuce. Informal traders buy crops directly from the fields and sell them in Maputo’s local markets and street stands. Four of five farming families indicate that the income they generate in this activity is their main source of revenue. Another estimated 40,000 people earn their livings by supporting urban agriculture through activities such as trading, selling, pesticide application, and transportation. Like Cape Town, it is mainly women who are involved in urban agriculture in Maputo’s fields. Understanding urban agriculture through a food systems lens was crucial in examining the potentials and challenges of urban agriculture. Applying a co-research approach in Cape Town allowed investigations that fostered participating farmers’ agency over the findings and led to the creation of a strong network that carried the research beyond the scope of this project. The mutual contextualisation of the results gathered in an inclusive research process into food justice theory revealed farmers’ in-depth understanding of structural inequalities within food systems in cities. Food justice theory is mainly applied in case studies in the North and looks at historical context and trauma, systemic challenges, and marginalisation in ethnicity, class, place, time, and gender. These research findings from two case studies in the South add to our understanding of marginalisation in urban agriculture in Cape Town and Maputo and shed light on the importance of intersectionality as a contextual component of food justice.
... Urban farmers 3 find themselves in a highly segregated city, in the outskirts of the city centre in an area called the Cape Flats. Farmers grow in backyard gardens in minimal space or in the hundreds of small food gardens which have been established mainly on public grounds such as schools, hospitals, or municipal land (Engel et al. 2019;Haysom, Crush, and Caesar 2017). Previous research on UA in selected disadvantaged communities showed that less than 5% of the surveyed population are actively farming and those who are farming make a low contribution to urban food security (Battersby 2011). ...
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Urban agriculture (UA) is perceived to foster the self-determination of localised food systems and feed growing urban populations. We apply a food justice lens with a focus on place and power to explore UA’s contributions to livelihoods and food availability in Cape Town, South Africa and Maputo, Mozambique and to understand the power dynamics between actors. We conducted household surveys, focus group discussions, key informant interviews, participant observations, and farmer-led co-research from 2017 to 2019. In Cape Town, UA is an NGO-led, subsidised initiative regulating production decisions and market access, instead of enhancing self-determination. Food is produced in highly confined spaces in informal settlements, almost exclusively for a niche market of wealthy consumers in the city centre. Farmers are disconnected from consumers and from their own produce, with only 15% of farmers eating the vegetables they grow. In Maputo, UA emerged from farming traditions in the peri-urban green belt, producing leafy green vegetables for both the urban population and 99% of the farmers themselves, thereby contributing to local food availability. However, farmers depend on prices determined by intermediaries with farm association members of higher status and privilege holding leading positions and determining access to agricultural inputs and services. In both contexts, we revealed stark structural inequalities and highly uneven power dynamics. As one outcome of co-research in Cape Town, farmers established their own market channels and advocated for food councils that would enable them to have a voice in shaping urban agriculture and local food systems.
... For example, SEED implements 'the Food Freedom Initiative . . . supporting home gardeners' (Brown 2013in Haysom et al., 2017. In other words, the Food Freedom Initiative specifically targets household gardeners (who use the available garden space at the homesteads) as opposed to community gardeners (who often use larger spaces on public land). ...
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Urban agriculture is an integral aspect of the urban food system in African cities. This is particularly so in Cape Town where despite frequent droughts and harsh physical conditions the activity has thrived largely as a result of the available organisational and material support to urban gardeners. While several supporting actors (e.g. government institutions and non-governmental organisations) provide various forms of assistance to urban gardeners in the Cape Flats, access to this support is little known. Moreover, there is limited knowledge on the level of coordination of activities among supporting actors in facilitating urban agriculture initiatives in the city. This study examines the linkages between urban gardeners and supporting actors in Mitchells Plain, Cape Town. It is based on a mixed methods approach that employs questionnaire and in-depth interviews to gather information from urban gardeners and supporting officials. The findings show that the nature and strength of the linkages between urban gardeners and supporting actors are critical in determining urban gardening success. The findings also show that there is minimal cooperation among non-state actors operating in Mitchells Plain. Since the success of urban gardeners hinges on external support, there is a need for increased collaboration and partnership among supporting actors.
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This paper contributes to the debate on urban agriculture as a source of social capital amongst local communities in African cities through a case-study of Mitchells Plain, a low-income neighborhood in the Cape Flats region of Cape Town, South Africa. A mixed-methods approach, combining a questionnaire survey and in-depth interviews with urban gardeners, as well as interviews with officials was undertaken. The findings show that urban agriculture increases social interaction among urban gardeners and the community. They also show that non-governmental organizations and government actors are crucial in enhancing social interaction within the community. Therefore, these findings have implications for development practitioners who continue supporting and encouraging the uptake of urban agriculture by residents of Mitchells Plain.
Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the most rapidly urbanising regions in the world. Achieving food and nutrition security is not only a rural challenge; the access to adequate (in terms of quantity and quality), healthy, nutritious and affordable food is also a growing concern for urban areas. The debate on the contribution of urban agriculture to food and nutrition security is however controversial. Based on a food systems approach, which includes the ‘farm-to-fork’ processes, pathways and dynamics between interlinked actors who are embedded in a spatial context, this research explores the potential of urban agriculture in two cities, Cape Town in South Africa and Maputo in Mozambique. First results of two baseline surveys amongst urban farmers in both cities, as well as qualitative in-depth interviews, show that urban farmers and home gardeners add nutrients and diversity to their diets, and can partly contribute to their income. Farmers value social benefits like urban greening, community building and empowerment. In Cape Town, main challenges are access to local and external markets, fair pricing and sovereignty in production. In Maputo, adaptation to more agroecological production techniques, combined with a more diverse production, could reduce farmers’ main challenges, such as pest pressure, and increase income and diversify diets. Foremost, urban agriculture needs to be embedded in the wider urban food system and urban planning in order to contribute towards more sustainable food systems.
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This book powerfully demonstrates that some of the most resourceful entrepreneurs in the South African informal economy are migrants and refugees. Yet far from being lauded, they take their life into their hands when they trade on South Africas mean streets. The book draws attention to what they bring to their adopted country through research into previously unexamined areas of migrant entrepreneurship. Ranging from studies of how migrants have created agglomeration economies in Jeppe and Ivory Park in Johannesburg, to guanxi networks of Chinese entrepreneurs, to competition and cooperation among Somali shop owners, to cross-border informal traders, to the informal transport operators between South Africa and Zimbabwe, the chapters in this book reveal the positive economic contributions of migrants. these include generating employment, paying rents, providing cheaper goods to poor consumers, and supporting formal sector wholesalers and retailers. As well, Mean Streets highlights the xenophobic responses to migrant and refugee entrepreneurs and the challenges they face in running a successful business on the streets.
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Food insecurity in urban areas, particularly in developing countries, is a persistent yet poorly understood phenomenon. Food security interventions have primarily focused on ensuring food availability, a focus that has resulted in predominantly production-oriented responses that presuppose a rural challenge, overlooking urban food insecurity challenges. This view generally precipitates welfarist or project-driven interventions in urban areas that are predominantly reactive, lacking strategic focus. Within the context of converging and mutually reinforcing global transitions, including the second urban transition, the food system transition and the nutrition transition, alternative urban food governance innovations are emerging. Urban food governance innovations are particularly evident in the Global North, with an emerging trend in South American cities. A gap exists in understanding food governance processes in growing South African cities, in particular how these processes intersect with a wider discourse on food system change. This paper draws on original analysis of emerging food governance trends and posits that a food lens offers opportunities to explore innovative forms of urban governance, participatory planning and citizen-driven food policy formulation.
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The primary objective of this study was to discover the challenges in operating micro-enterprises by African foreign entrepreneurs in Cape Town. Literature on immigrant entrepreneurship was reviewed resulting in the discussion of the significance of immigrant entrepreneurship and challenges in operating micro-enterprises. Convenience sampling was employed; consequential in sample of 93 respondents. The study used mixed methods, where data were collected by conducting semi-structured personal interviews and from self-administered questionnaires. The findings show that though xenophobia is not a frequent challenge to African foreign entrepreneurs in Cape Town, it is detrimental to their enterprises. Lack of knowledge of local languages also appears to be a problem. Immigrant-owned micro-enterprises are also affected by sales fluctuations. Competition is a constraint as there are many businesses of the same nature servicing the same market. Obtaining start-up and growth funding is not easy, especially for micro-enterprises ran by African foreign entrepreneurs. Obtaining a business location is also a challenge. High rent and crime are also obstacles to the enterprises. Recommendations of the study are directed to the immigrant entrepreneurs and selected government departments, and are aimed at dealing with challenges in operating micro-enterprises by African foreign entrepreneurs. DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n10p205
Using incoming revenues and the associated costs that underpin the concept of breakeven analysis, this article investigates the business survival strategies of immigrant-own-businesses in the context of African immigrants in the Cape Town Metropolitan Area of South Africa, and proposes a framework for the start-up survival of these businesses. The study was designed within the quantitative and qualitative research paradigms. A triangulation of three methods was utilised to collect and analyze the data. The research revealed that African immigrant entrepreneurs face a range of challenges when starting their businesses and again as they try to grow or stay afloat. Furthermore, the study indicated that African immigrants rely more on certain entrepreneurial attributes as they seek innovative solutions to the problems that they encounter relating to business. As a business survival strategy, these immigrants develop a number of unconventional initiatives aimed at increasing sales revenue while minimising cost. DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2013.v4n13p247
This contribution maps the South African agro-food system with a focus on corporate ownership and power, inspired by value chain work applied to the food system as a a whole. Corporations tend to dominate some nodes, for example input supply, grain storage and handling, and feedlots. Other nodes have a corporate core but with a wide number of smaller economic actors, for example agricultural production, food manufacturing, wholesale and retail, and consumer food service. This wide number of actors points to possible areas of intervention to boost livelihoods by supporting their economic activities. The paper considers the influence of corporations in structuring consumer perceptions on food quality and health, from input into apparently neutral dietary-based guidelines to advertising. Financialisation in the food system, including the institutionalisation of share ownership and the rise of agri-investment companies, and the multi-nationalisation of South African agro-food capital especially into Africa, have implications for the ability of the nation state to regulate activities in the agro-food system. The paper concludes with some recommendations for further work.
Introduces the city's inhabitants, placing special emphasis upon the so-called Cape Coloured people, their historical place in Cape society, and their physical place on the map of the city as it evolved up to 1948. Describes the process of strategic and economic planning to maintain and strengthen White domination, tracing the efforts of the planners following the Group Areas Act of 1950 to model a city for total racial residential segregation. Examines the nature of one, mainly Coloured, community (Mowbray) and the way in which the Act destroyed it. Finally, focuses on the Coloured and Black illegal squatters in the shantytowns which house nearly a quarter of all the residents of greater Cape Town. -after Publisher