Enforcement and Exclusion: COVID-19 Policies, Urban Migrants, and Food Insecurity in Pandemic South Africa

Jonathan Crush and Sean Sithole

On March 5th, 2020, South Africa recorded its first official case of COVID-19 when a South African tourist returning from a holiday in northern Italy tested positive. The number of excess deaths is now over 300,000. The policy response to the pandemic is widely regarded as amongst the most draconian in Africa. In 2020, the government imposed a stay-at-home lockdown…


Migrant Remittances, Food Security and Multi-Local Households: Ghanaian Labour Migration to Qatar

Bernard Owusu and Jonathan Crush

This paper investigates the impact of migrant remittances on food security among multi-local households within Ghana and Qatar, focusing on the experiences of Ghanaian labour migrants. Through a mixed-methods approach comprising household surveys in Ghana and in-depth interviews with migrants in Qatar conducted from March to June 2023, the paper explores how remittances influence the food security status of recipient…


Refugee Migration and Urban Food Security: Somali Migrants in Nairobi, Kenya

Zack Ahmed, Jonathan Crush, Samuel Owuor and Elizabeth Onyango

This paper investigates the relationship between refugee migration and urban food security, focusing on Somali migrants in Nairobi, Kenya. Despite the abundance of literature on urban refugees and their economic integration, scant research has addressed their food security challenges. Utilizing a household survey conducted in Nairobi’s Eastleigh neighborhood, the paper explores the levels, determinants, and spatial variations of food security…


Informal Cross-Border Traders and Food Trade during the Pandemic in Zimbabwe

Abel Chikanda

The collapse of Zimbabwe’s economy in the 2000s resulted in the country relying largely on food imports from other countries, especially from South Africa. Informal cross-border traders have become crucial players in the country’s food economy, playing an important role in the importation of food as well as its retail across the country. Cross-border trading also provides employment opportunities to…


COVID-19, Food Insecurity and South Sudanese Urban Refugees in Nairobi and Nakuru, Kenya

Cherie Enns, Samuel Owuor, Abbey Lin, Natasha Knebelow, Jacqueline Fanta, Cobby Achieng, William Kolong and Kristin Swardh

The challenges and struggles of refugees are well documented, mainly within refugee camps. However, more needs to be documented and understood about the exertions and hardships of urban refugees, including the experiences of young South Sudanese urban refugees living in Kenya. Although Kenya is one of the major countries that hosts refugees from South Sudan, it has adopted disparate policies…


Refugee Protection and Food Security in Kampala, Uganda

Andrea M. Brown

This study proposes strategies to better recognize and protect the food security needs of Kampala’s refugee population. Uganda is Africa’s largest refugee host, with a policy approach that has been widely lauded for its flexible settlement provisions and commitment to durable solutions. However, growing refugee populations and underfunding have led to serious pressures, severely exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Food…


South-South Migration, Pandemic Precarity, and the Informal Food Sector in South Africa

Jonathan Crush and Godfrey Tawodzera

The analysis of COVID-19 pandemic precarity in Africa should focus on the ways in which pre-pandemic migrant vulnerabilities were reconfigured in ways that weakened economic resiliency and reinforced disadvantage. This is the first paper to apply the concept of pandemic precarity to the impact of COVID-19 on migrants working in the informal food sector of African cities. The paper develops…


Evolving Food Security Challenges Facing Internal Migrants during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Chinese Cities

Zhenzhong Si and Taiyang Zhong

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly exacerbated the economic, social and political vulnerabilities of internal and international migrants and increased their food insecurity in several cities of the Global South. So far, very little attention has been paid to the dynamics of internal migrants’ food security in urban China since the emergence of the pandemic. Based on the results of an…


International Migration and Food Insecurity in Urban Namibia

Lawrence Kazembe, Godfrey Tawodzera and Ndeyapo Nickanor

Food security and migration have emerged as key development challenges in Namibia. Internal migration, where people move from rural areas to urban centres such as the capital, Windhoek, has been given a great deal of research and policy attention. However, there is a dearth of research on the relationship between international migration and food security in the country. This paper…


Food Insecurity and Irregular Labour Migration from Northern Malawi to South Africa

Anil Dhakal

The factors influencing migration decisions from Malawi to South Africa have changed with the end of contract migration to the mines and the new normal of irregular migration of both men and women to work in other sectors of the South African economy. Food insecurity is now one of the main drivers of migration as migrants seek to earn income…


Supermarkets in Mexico and the Mexico City Metropolitan Area: Logics of Territorial Insertion and Socio-Spatial Inequalities

Guénola Capron, Salomón González Arellano and Linda Moreno

The paper analyzes the logics of expansion and spatial distribution of supermarkets at three scales: global, national (Mexico), and especially metropolitan (Mexico City), from rich to poor spaces and social categories. It seeks to understand how supermarkets, in a country like Mexico where they initially target mainly the middle class, reproduce or mitigate socio-spatial disparities. We conclude that they are…


Rural-Urban Transition and Food Security in India

Chetan Choithani, Abdul Jaleel CP and S Irudaya Rajan

As a growing proportion of world’s population lives in cities and towns, food security is increasingly acquiring an urban character. The locus of food security research and policy agendas has correspondingly expanded from rural areas to include cities and towns in the past few years. However, the dominant discourse on urbanization-food security relationship appears to be shaped by perspectives from…


An Exploratory Study of the Food Security of Displaced Venezuelans in Ecuadorian Cities During COVID-19

Taymi Milan and Cheryl Martens

The displacement of over 7 million Venezuelans is reconfiguring urban contexts in Latin America. Ecuador is the third largest receiving country for Venezuelan migrants. The absence of state migration policies combined with the worsening economic situation across the region has had a significant impact on migrant food security. Although food security and migration have been studied extensively in Latin America,…


Linking Food Security with Development, Inequality and South-South Migration

Jonathan Crush and Sujata Ramachandran

In this paper, we draw attention to the ignored linkages between food security, inequality, and development with respect to South-South migration. Building on core arguments reflecting on these ties and empirical studies from diverse sending and receiving contexts, we outline five distinctive ways in which these multidimensional relationships and interactions operate. The first aspect assesses how inequality of opportunities and…


Emerging Digital Technologies and Cross-Border Food Remittances of Zimbabwean Migrants in Cape Town, South Africa, During the Early COVID-19 Pandemic

Sean Sithole, Daniel Tevera and Mulugeta F. Dinbabo

This paper examines the emerging unexplored synergies between digital-mobile technologies and cross-border food remittances in Southern Africa. Cell phones and apps or applications for smart mobile devices offer migrants new formal ways of sending food remittances. With large volumes of cash and non-cash items flowing through it, the South Africa-Zimbabwe remittance corridor is a priority market for these new fintech…


Young People’s Mobilities, Farming Aspirations and Engagements in Northern Ghana

Siera Vercillo and Bruce Frayne

Development policies targeting young people and African agriculture tend to focus on their abandonment of the sector and the need to attract new generations to agricultural activities through its commercialization. This paper points to potential gaps in such interventions by investigating the diverse mobilities, aspirations, and engagements of young people in farming, through a qualitative case study in rural northern…


The SDGs, Migrant Remittances and Food Security in Jamaica

Elizabeth Thomas-Hope

This paper raises questions about the implications of migration for inclusive social development in Kingston, Jamaica. This is based on an assessment of the relationship between remittances and food security at the household level. Emphasis is placed on whether remittances have made a difference in reducing the food insecurity associated with poverty and thus could contribute to inclusive social development….


Incomplete Documentation, Isolation and Food Security among Central American Migrants in Mexico City

Tiana Bakić Hayden

This paper examines some of the factors that contribute to food insecurity among the growing populations of Central American migrants who reside in Mexico City. It contributes to a growing body of literature that focuses on the relationship between migration and food security by analyzing the specific challenges faced by migrants who are (semi)permanently settled in an urban area (rather…


Migrant Women’s Food Insecurity Experiences in the Breadbasket of Ghana

Jemima Nomunume Baada, Moses Kansanga, Joseph Kangmennaang and Isaac Luginaah

Migration has become a safety net for smallholder farmers across Africa in response to rapidly deteriorating climatic conditions and the resulting low agricultural productivity. In semi-arid northern Ghana, especially the Upper West Region, many people migrate to rural farming communities in the Middle Belt of the country – popularly referred to as Ghana’s breadbasket – to meet their food security…


Pandemic Precarity and Food Insecurity: Zimbabwean Migrants in South Africa During COVID-19

Godfrey Tawodzera and Jonathan Crush

A notable silence in the emerging literature on migrant precarity is any consideration of the relationship between precarity and food insecurity. The links between migrant precarity and sudden economic, political or environmental shocks are relatively untheorized. Researchers were thus conceptually under-prepared to understand how and in what ways the COVID-19 pandemic intersected with general forms of precarity and food insecurity….


COVID-19, the Hukou System and Migrant Food Security in Urban China

Fei Xu, Taiyang Zhong and Jonathan Crush

The COVID-19 pandemic has issued significant challenges to food systems and the food security of urban and mobile populations. COVID-19 has had a disproportionate negative impact on household food security. In China, there have been no studies to date specifically focusing on the food security of migrants during the pandemic. This paper uses data from an online questionnaire survey of…


Food Remittances, Migration and Rural-Urban Linkages in Kenya

Elizabeth Opiyo Onyango, Jonathan Crush and Samuel Owuor

Rural-urban migrants in Sub-Saharan Africa do not generally cut their links with rural homes and much has been written about the character, types and implications of connections between rural areas and rapidly growing cities. The persistence of circular migration and the perpetuation of rural-urban connectivity is a distinctive feature of Kenyan urbanization. Informal non-market food remitting from rural to urban…


South-South Migration, Food Insecurity and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Jonathan Crush, Diana Thomaz and Sujata Ramachandran

The implementation of global migration governance processes such as the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the Global Compact for Migration has been stalled by the COVID-19 crisis as flows of and opportunities for international migrants shrink through the containment strategies adopted by most governments in response to the pandemic. Migrants have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and the policies taken…

Scroll to Top