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Ensuring food secure cities – Retail modernization and policy implications in Nairobi, Kenya

Mira Berger and Bram van Helvoirt

Food Policy, 2018, vol. 79, issue C, 12-22

Abstract: Retail modernization with the influx of supermarkets is drastically changing the retail environment in many developing countries, especially in the face of rapid urbanization. In Nairobi, Kenya, the expansion of supermarkets has advanced much more compared to many other African cities with the Kenyan Government strongly promoting the retail modernization. In this study, we assess the impact of the pursued retail modernization on urban food access. The study reveals the limitations of using the supermarketization as a market solution to urban food insecurity. Supermarkets increase food access mainly for the higher income – and already food secure – consumers in the city, while the poor and food insecure are largely excluded from patronizing supermarkets and rely on the informal market. The study concludes by suggesting that food policies must embrace a new conceptualization of the food retail sector in which both formal and informal retailers coexist. Such more holistic food policies that stem from a food systems perspective are needed to build an inclusive urban food system that can tackle prevalent food insecurity in Nairobi. Although the research focused on Nairobi, the findings are of broader relevance to urban centers in the global South.

Keywords: Urban food security; Supermarketization; Urban food policy; Inclusiveness (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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