An exploration of Arusha’s Foodscape

Listening to the experiences of market vendors and consumers

Join us on a captivating journey as we delve into the foodscape of Arusha, where public markets stand as the lifeblood of the urban food system. While these markets serve as the primary source of sustenance for citizens, they grapple with infrastructure and governance challenges that pose risks to food safety. In our quest for knowledge, we embarked on a captivating exploration, engaging with market vendors and consumers to understand their experiences firsthand. Through immersive field studies, comprehensive surveys, and insightful focus groups, we shed light on various aspects, including consumers' food sourcing habits, preferences, food safety awareness, as well as market vendors' organizational structures, perceptions of market infrastructure, and food safety practices.

Read the full report below to discover insights and recommendations for improving Arusha’s urban food system.

Some key findings:

  • There is a growing awareness about food safety among consumers and market vendors, but this has not led to behavioural change due to the misperception that food bought at the markets is safe, and that safe food products are more expensive.
  • 77% of all market consumers think the food bought at the markets is safe, despite the alarming contamination rates found in previous research.
  • Consumers assess food safety based on cleanliness, freshness and smell but decide to buy food based on price, resulting in them not buying from clean market stalls.
  • Market infrastructure lacks proper drainage systems, access to clean water and adequate vending stalls. Vendors are not involved in market improvements. This results in discontent and a perceived lack of return on paying taxes.

We recommend that it is time to:

  • Create a shared understanding of food safety with all food system actors,
  • Extend consumer sensitization campaigns, specifically targeting women,
  • Strengthen governance structures and create channels for market vendor participation so that infrastructure and working conditions can be improved collaboratively,
  • Set up designated market spaces for safe food products.

Together, let’s create a healthy and more sustainable future for our community.