Urban food markets in Africa: Incentivizing food safety using a pull-push approach
By ANH Academy 06 January 2021
Burkina Faso,

Collaborating institutions

  • Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia 

  • Centre d’Analyse des Politiques Economiques et Sociales, Burkina Faso

  • Institut de l’Environnement et de Recherches Agricoles du Burkina Faso

  • Institut de Recherche en Sciences Appliquées et Technologies, Burkina Faso

  • University of Florida, USA

  • Wageningen University and Research Centre, The Netherlands

  • World Vegetable Center, Taiwan

  • The International Livestock Research Institute (IRLI), Ethiopia, Kenya and Burkina Faso country offices

Dates: November 2018 – October 2022

Value: $3,541,047

Principal Investigator: Delia Randolph and Theo Knight-Jones

Brief description of study design:

The project aims to improve food safety in urban informal markets in Burkina Faso and Ethiopia, specifically in poultry and vegetable value chains. While previous efforts have often focused on training producers or regulators with little attention to incentives for behaviour change, the project investigates if consumer demand can provide the same incentive ('pull') for food safety in low- and middle-income countries as it has in high-income countries. It also builds capacity of market-level value chain actors to respond to demand (for example, by improving practices or adapting technologies) and of regulators to provide an enabling environment ('push'). We hypothesize that both 'pull' and 'push' approaches need to be co-implemented in urban food markets in Africa to lead to sustainably improved food safety. In addition, an enabling environment is a pre-requisite to improvements in food safety.

The study will use formative and intervention evaluation research to answer the following research questions:

What are the health and economic burdens to the food industry and the public from selected priority hazards present in poultry meat and vegetable value chains in urban and peri-urban centres in Burkina Faso and Ethiopia? How are these burdens distributed? How does disaggregated information on burden influence regulator attitude and behaviour?

What are the most relevant and cost-effective risk management options for priority hazards in targeted value chains in each country? Can building capacity in risk-based approaches and use of decision-support tools improve the ability of regulators to manage food safety?

What are the perceived barriers and enablers for urban value chain actors providing safer food? Can a package of simple and affordable information, technologies, and organisational mechanisms, alongside incentives (consumer demand and regulatory oversight), empower value chain actors to respond to consumer demand and regulator pressure by improving their food hygiene?

What communication strategies can be used to leverage urban consumer demand for food safety into behaviour change among regulators, value chain actors and consumers? How important is food safety for urban consumers when buying at local markets? What are perceived barriers to urban consumers’ access to safer food?

The project is organized in seven thematic work packages, each led by different project partners:

  • Work Package 1: Estimating burden and cost of key foodborne illnesses in Burkina Faso and Ethiopia

          - Initial estimates of Cot-of-illness have been made 

  • Work Package 2: Understanding the poultry and vegetable value chains in urban markets in Burkina Faso and Ethiopia

           - Value chain assessment field studies have been conducted in Burkina Faso and Ethiopia - findings to follow 
           - A systematic Literature Review of foodborne disease burden in the target countries is being conducted
           - Preparation for microbiological survey of pathogen prevalence in key commodities 

  • Work Package 3: Quantitative microbial risk assessment and cost-effectiveness analysis of candidate market-based interventions

           - Models are being constructed for key pathogens in chicken and priority vegetables 

  • Work Package 4: Build capacity and motivation of regulators to manage food safety (intervention 1, push approach)
  • Work Package 5: Empower market-level value chain actors to manage food safety (intervention 2, push approach)
  • Work Package 6: Design and implementation of a consumer campaign (intervention 3, pull approach)
  • Work Package 7: Impact assessment of pull-push intervention 

Project resources: 

Other useful information and links

This video from the Gates Notes blog depicts the lively urban poultry market in Burkina Faso. 
Poulet bicyclette literally means bicycle chicken. It got its name from the way the birds run in the village and how they are loaded onto bicycles when carried to the city market. There, people prefer to eat poulet bicyclette, referring to the village chickens, over commercial broilers (or ‘soft chicken’). There are three times more chickens in Burkina Faso than people; many of them are kept, processed and sold by women and therefore empower women in making economic and health decisions in their homes.

Contact information

Delia Randolph [email protected]
Theo Knight-Jones [email protected]

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