Working with informality: Constructive ways to transform food systems

An SNV and International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) paper written by Bill Vorley.

  • Many people in low-income countries rely on informal food systems for food and livelihoods. But informality puts food systems outside — or partly outside — the governance of states and value chains. This working paper explores the challenges involved in reversing decades of underinvestment, and why focusing too closely on formalisation may price out or remove informal food systems — and those who depend on them — from the markets.


Beyond formality: how embracing informal markets can drive inclusive economic growth

An informal market in Indonesia

The importance of informal markets in food systems transformation


Informality matters: unveiling the unseen drivers of sustainable food systems