n South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences - Determinants of urban consumers’ participation in informal vegetable markets : evidence from Mahikeng, North West province, South Africa, and implications for policy - original research

Volume 21 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1015-8812
  • E-ISSN: 2222-3436



Background: This article seeks to examine the perceptions of urban dwellers towards participating in informal vegetable markets and determine the underlying factors shaping their decisions to participate in such markets. 

Aim and setting: The objectives were achieved by using cross-sectional data obtained from a random sample of 230 households from Mahikeng in the North West province of South Africa. Households’ perceptions were measured using numeric responses to several questions, which covered various issues related to vegetable marketing and consumption. Principal component analysis (PCA) was employed to draw dominant perceptions from the set of responses. 

Method: The probit model was used to determine factors influencing households’ decisions of whether or not to participate in informal vegetable markets. Explanatory variables included demographic and socio-economic factors as well as perception-related factors, which were proxied by the dominant principal components (PCs) obtained from the PCA results.

Results: Two PCs were found dominant, representing safety and quality perceptions as well as the convenience and bargaining opportunities provided by informal traders. The probit regression results indicated that households’ preference for the informal vegetable market were positively influenced by age of household head, low level of education of adult household members, and convenience provided by informal markets. However, households’ wealth status and the perceptions on safety and quality of vegetables were found to have a significant negative influence on participation in the informal market.

Conclusion: Given that informal vegetable trade forms an integral part of the urban economy by offering easy access to food in public spaces and connecting with the formal economy where informal traders source their supplies, the study concludes by highlighting policy interventions aimed at improving the quality of food traded in the informal sector.

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