Going Local: EatSafe Pilots Food Safety Interventions in Nigerian and Ethiopian Traditional Markets
Globally, food safety is a concern in traditional food markets, a setting where millions of people access food daily. While these markets supply a variety of food commodities and provide vendors with livelihoods, it is difficult to guarantee safe food, as markets are often without regulation and can lack the necessary infrastructure to support best food safety practices. As a result, there has been a growing interest in localizing food safety interventions to improve food safety in traditional food markets.
The localization and adaptation of food safety interventions involve understanding stakeholders’ perspectives, the food safety challenges, tailoring food safety practices, trainings, guidance, policies and programs to the unique needs of local communities and their markets. This approach considers the cultural and social factors that influence food safety practices in these markets and works to address them in an effective and sustainable way.
Feed The Future’s EatSafe: Evidence and Action Towards Safe, Nutritious Food (EatSafe), is implementing and testing a range of market-based interventions aimed to influence consumer behavior to demand safer food in selected traditional markets in Nigeria and Ethiopia. Through early efforts like municipal roundtables, stakeholder mapping and story-sourcing in Nigeria and Ethiopia, EatSafe’s work started at the program level in partnership with local actors and stakeholders. The work quickly progressed along the localization spectrum through co-design workshops and the rollout of interventions directed by local leaders, with the goal of shifting ownership, responsibility and power toward community partners.
EatSafe in Nigeria Intervention Progress
Resulting from rigorous formative research and a collaborative design process, four interventions are currently being implemented in both Kebbi and Sokoto States:
- Abinci Fes-Fes (Safe Food Brand Initiative): Provides in-market visual cues so consumers can identify and prefer vendors who implement food safety best practices via training and an opt-in brand program;
- Association for Promotion of Food Safety and Improved Nutrition (APFSAN): Establishes a group of market actors and stakeholders via a Nigerian government-registered non-profit organization to advocate for improved food safety; embodying USAID’s local capacity strengthening policy;
- Wajan Iafiyayyen Abinci (Safe Food Market Stand): Creates a physical space in the market where consumers and other stakeholders turned value chain actors can access food safety information while they shop; and
- Sayan Nagari (Safe Food Radio Show): Produces a weekly radio show with influential on-air personalities, call-in sessions and scripted dramas in support of food safety education and awareness to the general public in Kebbi (Vision FM 92.9) and Sokoto (Vision FM 92.5) States.
EatSafe in Ethiopia Intervention Startup
Following research, ideation and design with key stakeholders, three interventions are underway in a traditional food market (Aroge Gebeya) of Hawassa, Ethiopia.
- Food Safety Motivational Campaign: Delivers a multimedia campaign to raise awareness and motivate consumers to prioritize purchasing food from vendors that implement food safety practices;
- 'Learning by Doing' Vendor Training: Provides interactive and practical food safety training to vegetable vendors in the market to develop vendor capacity to implement safe food handling practices; and
- Market Improvement Initiative: Convene Hawassa city stakeholders and market actors around a shared objective: improving basic market infrastructure to support and promote food safety in traditional markets aimed to ensure the health and safety of the local community.
In conclusion, the localization of food safety interventions in traditional markets is an important step toward improving food safety and promoting healthy food practices. By tailoring interventions to the unique needs of local communities and traditional markets, the efforts can create a safer and healthier food environment for all. Stay tuned for more updates from EatSafe!
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This blog was made possible through support provided by Feed The Future through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), under the terms of Agreement #7200AA19CA00010. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.