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Foro Global sobre Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición • Foro FSN

Re: Street food and urban and periurban agriculture and horticulture: perspectives for a strategic coalition towards food security

Hélène Delisle
Hélène DelisleUniversity of MontrealCanada

Thank you to all those who have posted their very interesting comments. Here is my addition:

Street foods have several potential benefits in Africa, along with their convenience and source of income for low-income people, particularly women. In sub-Saharan African cities, street foods are to become the local ‘fast food’, thereby preventing the progressive invasion by imported ultra-processed foods. Street foods are not only consumed by lower socioeconomic groups, as often believed and as shown in South Africa (Steyn NP et al 2011). Street foods may contribute to diet quality: in the cited study, fruits were the most frequent street foods among Black respondents. In the absence of organized institutional feeding for schools and businesses, street foods are the main option. The strategy should therefore be to improve the quality of street food. Street food vendors would benefit from training in hygiene and basic nutrition, as was done in Benin among those selling foods to school pupils, in the framework of the Nutrition Friendly School Initiative tested as an approach in Cotonou (Benin) and Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso). Improvements were noted in the nutritional quality, diversity and safety of the foods and drinks offered to school children. Vendors were resistant at first to offer healthier foods and drinks, fearing loss of income, but as teachers and pupils were also sensitized to nutrition, vendors, sales did not go down. Whether or not street food vendors should be registered or not is an issue that must be addressed locally.