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About this book

This book discusses the production, distribution, regulatory and management frameworks that affect food in urban settings. It plugs a gap in knowledge especially in the sub-Saharan Africa region where food, despite its critical importance, has been ignored as a ‘determinant of success’ in the planning and management of cities and towns. The various chapters in the book demonstrate how urban populations in Zimbabwe and elsewhere have often devised ways to produce own food to supplement on their incomes. Food is produced largely by way of urban agriculture or imported from the countryside and sold in both formal and informal stores and stalls. The book shows how in spite of the important space food occupies in the lives of all city residents, the planning and regulatory framework does not facilitate the better performance of food systems.

Table of Contents


Environmental Resilience—Food and the City

The production and consumption of food in urban centres has changed many activities within urban centres to ensure food availability and reduce food insecurity among urban populations. This study seeks to unveil the interconnection between food systems, processes, the city and the environment. Many sources have been used to indicate and scrutinise the connection between these relations. Already existing studies have been used to support this notion. This chapter demonstrates that there is a relationship between food production, marketing and its consumption together with the city and the environment. Food and its processes have got both positive and negative impacts on the environment as revealed by this chapter. From the information gathered, it has been discovered that the production of food has greater effects and is both a threat to the environment as it results in the emission of greenhouse gasses that cause climate change while urban agriculture is also a solution to climate change as it allows the capture and storage of carbon gasses in the plants and crops that are grown in the urban societies. It is recommended that food production in the cities be done in such a way that the environment is preserved. In as much as food is a necessity in the cities, correct measures should be taken to strike a balance between the production and the environment.
Christine Chivandire, Thebeth Masunda, Innocent Chirisa

City Food in Zimbabwe: The Origins and Evolution

Food and health are part of the major policy issues that surround many developing countries especially in Africa. Globally this has been a major highlight through many United Nations agendas, policies and activities. This chapter is based on evaluating and assessing Zimbabwe’s main source of food and its sustainability in catering for the needs of the nation especially in the cities. The effectiveness of the government in the reduction of the high mortality rate is based on promotion of good health and a healthy balanced diet. The chapter makes use of documentary analysis and secondary data to assess the origins of food in Zimbabwe. It therefore, comes up that Zimbabwe is an agro-based economy and was once the bread basket of Southern Africa; however, due to economic, political and environmental factors the cities and their urban areas are suffering from many health issues due to lack of access to basic food that make up a balanced diet. The origin of food in the country is further depicted through the Ester Boserup Theory and Rostow’s Five Stages of Growth as they highlight the development of agro-based economies from traditional societies to modern economies. There is need to investigate the history of origins of city food as it helps to understand and depict a clear picture for policy-makers and other actors on how best to cope with the shortage of food in the developing world, as the past is a vital asset in forecasting for a better future in the cities. There is need for policy-makers to fully explore the available food sources in Zimbabwe and measure their sustainability in current times as they were in the past so as to come up with effective and efficient food policies.
Tafadzwa Mutambisi, Innocent Chirisa

Urban Food: An Examination of the Policy and Legislative Framework

Laws are some of the most important and effective instruments used by governments to regulate different areas of citizens’ lives. They are powerful because there are consequences associated with breaking laws. The intention of legislation is to create societies where all people are compelled to do what is good. The assumption inherent in legislation is that ‘laws serve the common good’. This however, is not always the case in reality. There are good and bad laws. This chapter analyses Zimbabwe’s regulatory framework to assess its impact of the urban food system. The data was collected by reviewing the relevant laws, by-laws, policies and plans used in the regulation of the urban food system. The examination reveals that most Zimbabwean laws are very old and have not been regularly reviewed to reflect contemporary challenges and the socio-economic reality. They are not responsive and cannot respond to pandemics, such as the COVID-19. They have not been adapted to meet the objectives of the New Urban Agenda (NUA). Some of the most frequently used laws were enacted for a different era and no longer effectively serve under the current circumstances. The study also reveals that the laws are negative and aim to control and stop rather than facilitate innovation and encourage compliance. It concludes that Zimbabwean authorities must consider a new innovative people-centred approach to enacting legislation to govern livelihoods in general and the food system in particular.
Percy Toriro

Food Processing, Handling and Marketing in Zimbabwe

The chapter examines the developments in the handling, processing and marketing of food in rural and urban communities in Zimbabwe. It explores the post-harvest management and processing of food commodities, such as maize, fruits and vegetables, produced by smallholder rural farmers and the growing population urban dwellers undertaking urban farming. The chapter commences by defining food processing and examining its links to food security. This is then followed by a discussion of post-harvest handling practices in the grain and horticulture sector; foods commonly processed and technology utilised by small, medium and large-scale processors; challenges encountered by farmers and food processors as they process and market food commodities and the urban food supply and distribution system. Key issues highlighted in this chapter are that efforts still need to be made to reduce food losses emanating from the post-harvest and handling and the processing of food. Food processing at small-scale level is still using traditional technology that hampers increases in output and value addition. There is also very little evidence of utilisation of emerging technologies in the processing of food within the medium and large-scale food processors.
Emily Motsi

Urban Food Markets and the Resilience Factor in Zimbabwe

Increasingly there are many studies focusing on urban food systems as a whole and this systematic approach has been fruitful. Some components of the urban food system have also been examined individually. Some of the most frequently studied components of food systems are food production, reduction of food waste, the contribution of urban agriculture, nutrition, food security issues and the sustainability of urban food systems. However, comparatively less studies have sought to understand urban food markets as a crucial component of urban food systems especially in relation to resilience. Governments have become increasingly aware of the need for resilience planning so that they are better prepared for natural disasters and other destabilising shocks as a move towards fulfilling some of the objectives of the New Urban Agenda (NUA). This resilience planning is also crucial where urban food markets are concerned. This chapter is the output of a desktop study that contributes to an understanding of the relation between urban food markets and the resilience factor in Zimbabwe. Whilst urban food systems as a whole are critical in resilience planning, it is also of paramount importance to have a food market perspective particularly in the new era where food supplies are threatened by the coronavirus pandemic. Resilient urban food markets can withstand various shocks and stresses ranging from social upheavals to natural disasters and economic shocks and as a result contribute to food security. The chapter examines Zimbabwe’s urban food markets and their resilience mostly in terms of economic shocks and reviews literature by various proponents. It proceeds to interrogate the different types of markets that exist in Zimbabwean cities, how each typology operates and the implications on resilience and on urban food security. The chapter also observes urban food market prices and whether they are the same for different markets and what causes disparities if any. The information found in literature and in emerging issues will inform the lessons learnt.
Percy Toriro, Tamirirepi Banhire

Food Waste in Urban Zimbabwe: Options for Food Recycling

As part of the global world agenda to reduce extreme poverty and hunger, many countries are faced with the need to reduce food waste through recycling and reuse. Zimbabwe is no exception, as motivated by the Sustainable Development Goals of 2015 which aims at attaining zero hunger by 2030 and the New Urban Agenda which envisions that cities and huan settlements must provide access to quality services in the form of food nutrition and security. Through Zimbabwe’s regulatory framework, the Environmental Management Act and the Urban Councils Act, have been used as tools to promote food waste reuse and recycling hence, the reduction in food waste through recycling at household and even at commercial levels. However, local authorities suffer from a lack of capacity to effectively collect waste hence, the need to effectively deal with issues regarding food waste from the household level. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has also threatened food security in the African region and hence, the need to effectively maximise on food recycling and reuse measures. The chapter concludes that food waste recycling and reuse are an essential component for urban environments to thrive excellently, as this does not only cut on food waste to guarantee food security for the poor, but also promotes healthier and cleaner working and living environments for the populace.
Tinashe N. Kanonhuhwa, Innocent Chirisa

Food Availability, Preferences and Consumption in Zimbabwean Urban Spaces

Food availability, preferences and consumption are critical factors of food insecurity. The chapter unfolds food preferences availability and consumption in Zimbabwe with particular reference to Harare, Bulawayo and Bindura. Through extensive literature review and document analysis it is evident that there is food distribution and accessibility problems that need to be addressed. Expanding employment opportunities, thereby enhancing households’ sources of incomes can be the solution. Food insecurity is well understood concerning issues, such as social protection, sources of income, rural and urban development, changing household structures, health and access to land, water and inputs, retail markets, or education and nutritional knowledge. Household food security in Zimbabwe has declined due to a drastic reduction in food and agricultural production following erratic rainfall, a declining industrial economy and the gross lack of key farming inputs. Food availability is declining thus affecting preferences and consumption. Policies addressing food availability that affects preferences and consumption should be spatially blind and universal in application targeting the poorest communities especially in urban areas that are often neglected.
Marcyline Chivenge, Innocent Chirisa

Food and City Planning Management in Zimbabwe

This chapter examines the link between food and city management in Zimbabwe. The increase in the rate of urbanisation has set up unprecedented challenges for feeding cities with affordable and healthy food. Urban food security and food systems are receiving growing attention at global level both North and South. Although, the issue of food and city planning management is insufficiently covered and is limited in existing literature, there exists very few comprehensive planning books that properly consider food planning and the integration of food systems, some cities and regions have made huge progress over recent years. However, their practices have not been made visible to a wide audience and reflections on their limitations and successes deserve greater attention. The New Urban Agenda (NUA) places specific additional responsibilities for cities to include food in city management. Therefore, this chapter aims to improve the understanding of food and city planning management in Zimbabwe. The chapter illustrates emerging issues by addressing questions, such as: who manages food issues in cities in Zimbabwe? Is it a clear mandate? Is the management structure and skills set in urban councils appropriate and sustainable? What are the management experiences that can be shared from Zimbabwean cities? The findings indicate that over the years there has been a growing recognition of the persistence of food insecurity in urban areas mostly in developing countries, because food production was for a long time considered a rural issue, thus urban agriculture has emerged as a lucrative livelihood strategy used to curb food insecurity in urban areas. Urban planners also have paid little attention to food systems, emphasising ‘traditional’ urban priorities, such as public transportation and decent housing.
Percy Toriro, Charlotte Muziri

Zimbabwean Urban Planners and Their Role in Urban Food

Planners manage the built environment and settlements. The profession envisions the form of urban areas and are responsible for the different land use mixes and the facilities available for residents to use. They also impose rules that determine the uses that are permitted in a locality. At the site level, urban planners determine the buildings that may be built and the extent of development permitted. So, planning determines what use is where and the detail of development. It also directs and dictates what uses are compatible with each other and can be situated next to each other. This is an important lens through which to assess the country’s compliance with provisions of global urban development objectives as set out in the New Urban Agenda (NUA). In Zimbabwe, the urban planning profession is very well-developed and strictly regulated. It borrows heavily from Britain, the former colonial authority. Examining the views of professionals that oversee this profession, the Urban Planners, is therefore, very useful in understanding their actions and in empowering society to meaningfully engage them. This chapter examines the views of Zimbabwean planners on their role in urban food systems. The questions that the chapter sought to answer include: Do Zimbabwean planners think it is part of their mandate to plan for food? What role do they think they should be playing? Who else do they think should be planning and managing food? Do they see themselves as contributing towards the achievement of urban food security? Various research methods were used to collect data including interviews with key informants. A desk survey of the existing planning tools, such as master and local plans, was also undertaken. The author also attended an annual gathering of Zimbabwean urban planners and listened to and analysed discussions during the conference to assess their views. An examination of decisions that have impacted on food systems in the past and the role of planners in these decisions was also used to gain an understanding of the planners.
Percy Toriro

Training Institutions and Food in the Curriculum

Shifting societal issues and government policy initiatives continues to create demands on the school curriculum in addressing public health concerns in both developed and developing countries. Public health concerns, such as the rising incidence of malnutrition and non-communicable diseases can be addressed through a school curriculum that teaches and promotes healthy dietary patterns and life styles. This chapter examines efforts being made to transfer food and nutrition education and well-being competencies to learners through educational institutions. Drawing from various literature, factors influencing the incorporation of food in the school curriculum are highlighted. The benefits of integrating food in the school curriculum are also interrogated. Food education approaches adopted in educational interventions are discussed. Also presented in this chapter are three different curriculum frameworks that have been designed to guide the teaching of food in primary and secondary schools at international and local level. A key issue emerging in this chapter is that the school will continue to play a critical role in the development of healthy dietary behaviours and nutrition-related knowledge among children and adolescents since it provides an appropriate environment to teach and reinforce healthy eating behaviour through a well-structured competency-based curriculum.
Emily Motsi

The Teaching of Home Economics in Primary Schools in Zimbabwe

Home Economics is a practical subject, such that teachers are expected to teach both practical and theory lessons. It is mainly concerned with skill development, so there are more practical lessons as compared to theory lessons. Both the theory and practical lessons address the social, economic and environmental goals as guided by global, regional and national development goals such as New Urban Agenda, Sustainable Development Goals, and Africa Agenda 2063 which address issues of food security and nutrition. Whether pupils work as individuals or as members of a group, home economics is essentially concerned with planning, designing and working; in ways that involve investigation and experiment and the organisation and management of time and materials. It has to do with important issues concerning the social and material welfare of people living, with a greater or lesser degree of independence, as members of families. It is therefore, particularly well placed to play its part in developing a wide range of skills in pupils as they progress through school, because it provides many contexts within which those skills are called into play and that relate closely to pupils’ own homes and families.
Spiwe Makumbe, Tariro Nyevera

Informal Food Spaces: Implications for Public Health

The chapter converses on the implications of informal food spaces to public health in urban areas. The study indicated that urban areas are dynamic and fluid due to their ever-changing forms, function and formula. As a result, maintaining formality in such environments has strongly appeared to be a challenge to the urban planning profession. Document analysis was utilised in this study focusing on two major case areas that are; Harare CBD and KwaMereki in Warren Park, Harare. The study identified an increase of vendors and food outlets in the informal food spaces and these pose a threat to public health due to their illegal nature, lack of portable water and sanitation provisions and preparation processes of the foodstuffs. Notable among the findings is that the preparation of foods both onsite and offsite is open to contamination since vendors do not practice safe hygienic food handling.
Tinashe Bobo, Innocent Chirisa, Percy Toriro

The Future of Food, the City and Environment: Case for Resilience in Zimbabwe

In the wake of climate change and unfavourable urban policies, the future of effective food provision to Zimbabwe’s urban inhabitants remains blinkered. The chapter focuses on the need to promote sustainable urban agriculture as one of the major sources of livelihood for women and children especially. Urban Agriculture is noted to improve on food security and livelihoods especially on the poorer portion of the population. It also recommends on the need to reduce on food wastages and at the same time, promote food recycling as an effective way to guard against hunger. Urban local farming and the saving of the available food, and prevention of food wastes would play a positive role in ensuring that, the country achieves part of its Sustainable Development Goals of 2030 that aim to eliminate hunger and the New Urban Agenda that strives to achieve nutrition and food security in cities. The chapter is heavily thrusted on the issue of Urban Agriculture as an effective source of food security in Zimbabwe’s urban environment, especially in a world threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it recommends the need for stern policy measures as regards to the practice of urban agriculture in order to ensure food security in urban areas. This would, in turn, prevent over-reliance on donors, as a way to get Zimbabwe back on its feet as the ‘once’ bread basket of Africa.
Tinashe Kanonhuwa, Percy Toriro, Innocent Chirisa
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