“As Mougeot notes, cash incomes for the urban poor are low and unreliable and quality food is often unaffordable” (Crush; Frayne, 2011, 782). It frightens me that this quote, intended to describe the food conditions in Africa, can be directly and efficiently applied to our society. Food security is a global issue.
We are fortunate enough to have an abundance of places to purchase our food, lowering our overall struggle with food insecurity. “Accessibility hinges primarily on the individual or household’s ability to purchase foodstuffs, which in turn depends on household income, the price of food and the location of food outlets” (Crush; Frayne, 2011, 781). Developed countries have greater opportunities for families struggling with food insecurity. Discount food stores for example, give families a place to buy food that will feed their family at a lower cost, but also have the nutritious value of a good meal.
Southern Africa is at an attempt to create more food supply areas. Currently, the consumer market is steered strictly by a minimal number of large, corporate supermarkets (Pick n Pay, Shoprite, Woolworths, and Spar). Walmart, the American superstore, wants to join into the South African economy. Good idea, or bad?
The informal food market maintains an important impact on Southern African society and economy. Being the main resource of food, it “plays an essential role in the provisioning of urban households and in making food available to the urban poor” (Crush; Frayne, 2011, 782). Informal markets have been an important part of Southern Africa, and putting them in a risky situation is not fair.
Why should Walmart, an American store, open and receive income from the people of Southern Africa? If Walmart opens, it will be a major source of competition for the informal food market. One may argue that informal markets will still be an important part of the “informal settlements”, although it takes away the overall culture (Crush; Frayne, 2011, 791).
Should other countries be able to open their large supermarkets in other countries?
Crush, J. and Frayne, B. 2011. Supermarket expansion and the informal food economy in
Southern African cities: Implications for Urban Food Security. Journal of Southern African
Studies, 37 (4), 781-807