Document Type

AFSUN Urban Food Security Series

Publication Date



Balsillie School of International Affairs


The results of AFSUN’s study of the food security situation of the poor in Gaborone show that not everyone is benefitting from Botswana’s strong and growing economy and that many of the urban poor experience extremely high levels of food insecurity. The study, which formed part of AFSUN’s baseline survey of 11 Southern African cities, collected data on a broad range of issues that affect household food insecurity and found that four out of five households in the surveyed areas in Gaborone reported severe or moderate food insecurity. Only 18% were either food secure or mildly food insecure. Income level is a particularly important determinant of food insecurity as most households access food from the marketplace rather than grow their own. The impacts of chronic food insecurity on Gaborone’s population are likely to be considerable unless this problem is urgently addressed. The problem is in some sense invisible because there appears to be no shortage of food in the shops and on the streets of this booming city. The challenge is not one of food supply but food accessibility and food quality. Given that Botswana is one of the most rapidly urbanizing and most urbanized countries in Africa, its example has wider importance for the general study of urban food security on the continent.