Integration of traditional foods in multinational chain stores of Lusaka district of Zambia.

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Chalwe, Pethias
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The University of Zambia.
There has been an increase in multinational chain stores in Zambia and they have now included the sale of Zambian traditional foods though marginally. Hence, there is a possibility of foreign food products which are mostly sold in multinational chain stores affecting commercialisation of the limited integrated Zambian traditional foods negatively. This study compared pricing of traditional food in multinational chain stores and local public markets. It also assessed the diversity of traditional foods in chain stores and in local public markets. Further, the study identified the barriers to commercialisation of traditional foods in multinational chain stores. Data was collected using questionnaire, semi-structured interviews and direct observation in six multinational chain stores branch managers, 111 traders in public markets, 65 suppliers, two key informants from the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS), one key informant from the Ministry of Commerce Trade and Industry and two key informants from Zambia National Farmers Union(ZNFU). Qualitative data analysis was a continuous process of content analysis, creating themes and revisiting respondents to come up with a clear picture on the barriers to commercialization of traditional foods. Quantitative data was analyzed using a one tailed two independent sample T-test to compare the price per unit of the traditional foods in multinational chain stores with those stocked in local public markets. The mean prices per kilograms of all food types except insects and poultry products sold in multinational chain stores were higher than those food types sold in local public markets (p≤0.001). In terms of diversity of food types, results showed that local public markets have more livestock products, forest products, fruits, insects, poultry products, roots and tubers and wild vegetables than chain stores. Multinational stores have more beverages, fish, garden vegetables, cereals and legumes than local public markets. The differences are largely due to differences in value addition which are more in chain stores. The identified barriers to commercialization of traditional foods in multinational chain stores included low quality produce, short shelf life span, and inadequate machinery, low income to meet demand, lack of consistency, branding and packaging. Overall, the results showed huge potential of traditional foods being integrated though the results indicates five times loss in terms of prices in public local markets due to lack of support systems. Based on the findings, the study recommends the government to broaden support systems through programs such as citizen economic empowerment commission (CEEC) in order to improve value addition of traditional foods so that we can maximize huge high potential of prices offered in chain stores. Therefore, efficiency and effectiveness of the government in providing extension services to traders and suppliers of traditional foods to improve traditional food production as well as preservation are essential.
Thesis of Master of Science in Environmental and Natural Resources Management.