Governance of Food Systems in Epworth, Zimbabwe
2018. In Jane Battersby and Venessa Watson (Eds), Urban Food Governance and Poverty in African Cities, Routledge.
Despite the increasing body of research on urban food systems in the Global South, there is very little work on how these systems are governed, their impact on food production, distribution and consumption, and in turn food (in)security and urban poverty in secondary cities. This chapter asks what the urban food system in Epworth, Zimbabwe, reveals about the dynamics of urban poverty and food governance. In order to understand the nature of this food systems governance, a reverse value chain analysis of five key food products, spatial mapping of formal and informal food retailers, and in-depth household interviews were undertaken. The findings show the complexities of Epworth’s food system, which is intertwined with that of the capital city, Harare, through imports and regional and international markets. The food retail services are diverse and include formal and informal services that are intertwined and exist symbiotically in a way that allows the urban poor to access food. Yet, the governance of informal economic activities continues to be viewed as illegal and is ruthlessly suppressed. The chapter concludes that any transformation toward an inclusive governance of the food system requires a symbiotic relationship of formal and informal food retailing and understanding extra-governmental forms of food governance.