Contribution of informal markets to poverty reduction and household food security among street traders in Thulamela local municipality of Vhembe district Limpopo province.
Mafunzwaini, Mpho Michael.
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Although the government of South Africa has embarked on various interventions to address problems facing the country, a skewed economic structure, high unemployment rate, chronic poverty and structural household food insecurity continue to represent the country. As a result, many unemployed people and poor households venture into informal street trading to escape these challenges. It is against this background that this study attempts to document the contribution of the informal economy to poverty reduction and household food security. The following objectives were implemented in order to achieve the intention of the study: to document the profile of informal street traders in Thulamela Local Municipality, assessing their knowledge of operating a business and the challenges they face, and to assess the prevalence of household food insecurity amongst households engaged in informal street trading in Thulamela Local Municipality. A multi-stage sampling technique was adopted to randomly select 100 controlled informal street traders. A mixed research method, field observations, key informants and open-ended and closed questionnaires were used to gather the information. Analysis of the data was done with Statistical Package for the Social Sciences. The outcomes of the study revealed that informal street traders in Thulamela Local Municipality are 45 years old on average. Most of them live in rural areas in a household that consists of 5.3 family members. The informal street traders were found to have ten years of operating experience and predominantly trading horticultural crops. However, the sector is still confronted with various challenges that are obstructing its growth, profitability and sustainability. Amongst interviewed street traders, 37% were found to be food secure, 14% mildly food insecure, 33% moderately food insecure and 16% severely food insecure. The majority of households were unable to access sufficient food they prefer. Households can be affected by food insecurity in different ways depending on their socio-economic characteristics. Some significant differences were noticed between the socio-economic variables and household food insecurity prevalence categories. The study therefore recommends that policy-makers need to recognise and admit the importance of informal street trading as the number of people venturing into the informal sector accumulating.
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