Characterisation, Challenges and Resilience of Small-Scale Food Retailers in Kingston, Jamaica
- 47 Downloads
Small-scale food enterprises occupy a critical space in the food system of Kingston, Jamaica. While they serve the entire population, poor urban households are disproportionately reliant on small-scale food retailers. The nodes and networks of retailers play an important role in the value and commodity chain by providing access to comparatively cheap food but are often impacted by economic vagaries and state-level regulation amongst other factors which potentially challenge the sustainability of the trade. These issues are potentially offset by a highly dynamic system where entry into the trade is maintained by the high levels of unemployment and limited alternatives, even in the informal sector. While the challenges are the likely result of state-level deficiencies, it is possible that these problems are both alleviated and exacerbated by various strategies used to claim space and negotiate food-based livelihoods in the city. This research attempts to fill a conspicuous gap in the literature by examining the pathology of the urban food system as it relates to the characterisation, challenges and experiences of small-scale food retailers. The results are based on a combination of questionnaire surveys and interviews with small-scale food retailers in the city. They reveal the existence of gender- and age-based differences in education, profits earned and motivations for entry. Additionally, these vendors face a range of challenges including deficiencies in state support. While many of their challenges are partly compensated by reliance on inwardly focussed networks, statistical characterisation may provide vital insight into opportunities for policy interventions which specifically target this marginalised group.
KeywordsNeoliberalism Informality Small-scale retailers Food system
The survey discussed in this paper was funded by the Hungry Cities Partnership with support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) International Partnerships for Sustainable Societies (IPaSS) Program. The writing of the paper was made possible by a grant from the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Advanced Scholars program.
- Alleyne, R. (2015). KSAC angers downtown Kingston vendors. Resource document. Jamaica Observer. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/KSAC-angers-downtown-Kgn-vendors_18497407?fbclid=IwAR3IC-r4JZ68X8UvQzQJhZJudL9a_-eWD_WngflEWrhp7-rMg_f9FoRPO4A. Accessed 20 Jan 2019.
- Anderson, P., & Witter, M. (1994). Crisis, adjustment and social change: a case study of Jamaica. In E. Lefranc (Ed.), Consequences of structural adjustment: a review of the Jamaican experience (pp. 1–55). Kingston: University of the West Indies Press.Google Scholar
- Baum, F., & Ziersch, A. (2003). Social capital [glossary]. London: BMJ Publishing Group.Google Scholar
- Beirnard, M., del Castillo, S., Swati, S., Shaheen, H., & Kagarama, D. (2011). Inclusive economic growth in Kingston, Jamaica: report for Kingston Restoration Company and Urban Development Corporation. New York: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University.Google Scholar
- Brown-Glaude, W. (2011). Higglers in Kingston: women’s informal work in Jamaica. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press.Google Scholar
- CIA. (2016). The world factbook 2016. Resource document. Central Intelligence Agency. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/jm.html. Accessed 2 Nov 2018.
- Clegg, P. (2016). Jamaica and the IMF: a never-ending story. Resource document. E-International Relations. https://www.e-ir.info/2016/03/06/jamaica-and-the-imf-a-never-ending-story/. Accessed 21 Jan 2019
- de Soto, H. (1988). Structural adjustment and the informal sector. Microenterprises in developing countries: papers and proceedings of an international conference held in Washington, D.C., USA, 6-9 June 1988.Google Scholar
- Duncan, W. (1984). Jamaica: alternative approaches. In R. Wesson (Ed.), Politics, policies and economic development in Latin America (pp. 107–138). California: Hoover Institution Press.Google Scholar
- Edwards, C. (2014). KSAC expects 5,000 more vendors on streets this Christmas season. Jamaica Observer. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/KSAC-expects-5-000-more-vendors-on-streets-this-Christmas-season_17927206. Accessed 25 Jan 2019.
- FAO (2003). Caribbean regional working group on street food vendors: report of FAO, PAHO and BNSI. Resource document. Food and Agricultural Organisation. www.fao.org/tempref/docrep/fao/008/ae973s.pdf. Accessed 28 Oct 2018
- FocusEconomics. (2017). Jamaica economy—GDP, inflation, CPI and interest rate. Resource document. FocusEconomics | Economic Forecasts from the World’s Leading Economists. https://www.focus-economics.com/countries/jamaica. Accessed 25 Jan 2019.
- Hansen, K., & Vaa, M. (2004). Reconsidering informality. Uppsala: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet.Google Scholar
- Herrera, J., Kuepie, M., Nordman, C., Oudin, X., & Roubaud, F. (2012). Informal sector and informal employment: overview of data for 11 cities in 10 developing countries. Resource document. Women in Informal Employment Globalising and Organising. https://www.wiego.org/publications/informal-sector-and-informal-employment-overview-data-11-cities-10-developing-countries. Accessed 21 Jan 2019.
- IADB. (2006). The informal sector in Jamaica (IADB Economic and Sector Studies RE3-06-101). Resource document. Inter-American Development Bank. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/254421257_The_informal_sector_in_Jamaica. Accessed 2 Nov 2018.
- ILO. (2018). Women and men in the informal economy: a statistical picture. Resource document. International Labour Organisation. https://www.ilo.org/global/publications/books/WCMS_626831/lang%2D%2Den/index.htm. Accessed 21 Jan 2019.
- Jamaica Observer. (2015). KSAC grants dislocated Vendors permission to continue in ‘no vending’ area until…. Resource document. Jamaica Observer. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/NEWS/KSAC-grants-dislocated-vendors-permission-to-continue-in%2D%2Dno-vending%2D%2Darea. Accessed 25 Jan 2019.
- Kinlocke, R. (2016). Fear, social capital and the construction of residential boundaries in the Kingston Metropolitan Area. PhD thesis, The University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica.Google Scholar
- Kinlocke, R., Thomas-Hope, E., Jardine-Comrie, A., Timmers, B., Ferguson, T., & McCordic, C. (2019). The state of household food security in Kingston, Jamaica (HCP report no. 15). Cape Town: Hungry Cities Partnership.Google Scholar
- Klein, E., & Tokman, V. (1993). Informal sector and regulations in Ecuador and Jamaica (Technical paper no. 86). Paris: OECD Development Centre.Google Scholar
- Knight, P. (2008). Inequality and stratification in Jamaica during economic adjustment (1991-2000). Kingston: Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies.Google Scholar
- Linton, L. (2015). 226 vendors register under KSAC drive. Resource document. Jamaica Information Service. https://jis.gov.jm/226-vendors-register-under-ksac-drive/. Accessed 11 Sept 2018.
- Munroe, M., & Blake, D. (2017). Governance and disorder: Neoliberalism and violent change in Jamaica. Third World Quarterly, 38(3), 580–603.Google Scholar
- Osei-Boateng, C., & Ampratwum, E. (2011). The informal sector in Ghana. Ghana: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.Google Scholar
- PIOJ. (2014). Jamaica social protection strategy. Kingston: Planning Institute of Jamaica.Google Scholar
- PIOJ. (2017). Economic and social survey of Jamaica. Kingston: Planning Institute of Jamaica.Google Scholar
- PIOJ (2018). Economic and Social Survey of Jamaica.Kingston: Planning Institute of Jamaica.Google Scholar
- Ragoobirsingh, D., Morrison, E., Johnson, P., & Lewis-Fuller, E. (2006). Dietary intake and chronic diseases in Jamaica - —an island-wide survey. Journal of Food, Agriculture & Environment, 4(2), 31–33.Google Scholar
- Seepersad, G., & Ennis, G. (2009). Analysis of the Jamaican fresh agricultural produce industry: market analysis. Final report. Kingston: Jamaica Social Investment Fund.Google Scholar
- Thomas-Hope, E., Kinlocke, R., Ferguson, T., Heslop-Thomas, C., & Timmers, B. (2017). The urban food system of Kingston, Jamaica (HCP report no. 4). Cape Town: Hungry Cities Partnership.Google Scholar
- Vuletin, G. (2008). Measuring the Informal Economy in Latin America and the Caribbean (International Monetary Fund Research Working Paper, WP/08/102) Washington D: IMFGoogle Scholar
- Witter, M., & Kirton, C. (1990). The informal economy in Jamaica: some empirical exercises (Institute of Social and Economic Research working paper). Kingston: The University of the West Indies.Google Scholar
- WTO. (2010). Trade policy review, report by Secretariat of Jamaica. Resource document. World Trade Organization. https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/tpr_e/s242_sum_e.pdf. Accessed 25 Jan 2019.