Enhancing the performance and growth potential of street-food vending for accelerated socio-economic development in Ghana


Start date: 1 February, 2012 End date: 31 July, 2016 Project type: Pilot research cooperation projects (prior to 2013) Project code: 11-P21-GHA Countries: Ghana Thematic areas: Economic development and value chains, Food security and safety, Lead institution: Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana Partner institutions: University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark Project website: go to website (the site might be inactive) Policy Brief: Policy Brief Project coordinator: Kwasi Ohene-Yankyera Total grant: 5,076,499 DKK Project files:

Project summary

The informal sector employs most people in many developing countries, with estimates in Ghana showing that 80-90% of the total population are employed in the sector. With rapid urbanization, informal activities like street-food vending are increasingly becoming important livelihood activities for the urban poor as they offer employment and cheap foods. However, street-food vending in Ghana, as in many developing countries, faces many constraints such as poor organization, low entrepreneurial knowledge and low investments due to poor access to credit and even more importantly food safety concerns. The project will provide research based knowledge that will address these constraints to make the sector a more effective and viable tool for socio-economic growth and development.


Project Completion Report:

The research objectives were in three folds bothering on the regulatory and institutional setup of the street foods sector, performance and economic viability and business related constraints and food quality and food safety. Under these themes, the following results were achieved:

The project further showed that compliance to regulations is burdensome for Street Food Vendors (SFV). The burden of compliance expresses itself more in terms of time than money cost; more especially for hygiene regulations.

The study found street food vending enterprises to be profitable with an average daily gross margin of Sixty Ghana Cedis (approximately 16 USD). This is about 7 times more than the official minimum wage in Ghana. High cost of production, lack of access to credit, input price variability, lack of knowledge in business management and lack of reliable and stable power are the five most binding constraints to business growth. Training interventions also significantly improved treated vendors’ practices of standard business management principles as well as gross margin ratio. The impacts of the interventions were also found to be significantly higher for organized vendors since vendor associations served as a platform for peer tutorial, assistance and regulation.

Highest contamination levels were found in vegetables, with soup at the lowest extreme end. In-between these extreme ends, fufu, rice, shito, macaroni, ketch-up and mayonnaise appear to have reducing contamination levels as in that order. E. coli counts were found to be low in components with a lot of heat treatment. S. aureus is higher when there are a lot of human contacts and B. cereus was seen mostly with long compromised storage.

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