This paper aims to review what is currently known about the role played by the informal sector in general
and informal retailers in particular, in the accessibility of food in South Africa. The review seeks to
identify policy relevant research gaps. Drawing on Statistics South Africa data, the authors show that the informal
sector is an important source of employment, dominated by informal trade with the sale of food a
significant subsector within this trade. We then turn our attention to what is known about the informal
sector’s role in food sourcing of poorer households.
This work was partly supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the UK Department for International Development.
Skinner, C., Haysom, G. 2016. The informal sector’s role in food security: A missing link in policy debates? Working Paper 44. Cape Town: PLAAS, UWC and Centre of Excellence on Food Security
The informal sector’s role in food security: A missing link in policy debates?
Published 12 September 2016