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Open Access journal
ISSN (Print) 0265-5012 - ISSN (Online) 1759-5436
Published by John Wiley and Sons [1589 journals]
- Notes on Contributors
- Introduction: How Prices Rose and Lives Changed
Authors: Patta Scott-Villiers; Alexandra Wanjiku Kelbert
Pages: 1 - 7
Abstract: Between 2007 and 2012 global food price volatility affected millions of people on low and precarious incomes. Research partners from ten developing countries accompanied households in rural and urban sites, from just after the first price spike in 2008, through a second spike in 2011 and into a period of relative price stability until 2014. In this IDS Bulletin we show how a multitude of micro-reactions to rising and unpredictable prices has laid the foundations for transformed societies. As food has been increasingly commodified, as people on low incomes have struggled to pay for life's necessities, as they have responded by changing their ways of making a living, residences, diets, family relationships and ways of caring for one another, we map out how food price volatility has played a part in global social change.
- From Global to Local and Back Again: Researching Life in a Time of Food
Authors: Naomi Hossain
Pages: 8 - 19
Abstract: This article sets out the thinking behind the research methodology used in the Life in a Time of Food Price Volatility project. It sets out the key questions and aims, describes the approach, and explains why we chose the research design we did. It discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the methodology, and concludes with reflections on the (increasingly important) question of how to research social change in a globalising era.
- Anomaly or Augury? Global Food Prices Since 2007
Authors: Richard King
Pages: 20 - 32
Abstract: This article reviews the dynamics of global food prices since the food crisis of2007–08, the extent to which international prices have influenced national prices and poverty and wellbeing outcomes, and considers whether this exceptional period represents an anomaly or likely signals future episodes of food price volatility. It finds that although some factors that contributed to recent events have eased considerably, some significant drivers remain structural threats to future food security. There is little reason to be confident that recent reductions in food prices and volatilities augur well for the food security or wellbeing of those living on low and precarious incomes in the future.
- Disaggregated Analysis: The Key to Understanding Wellbeing in Kenya in the
Context of Food Price Volatility
Authors: Nick Chisholm
Pages: 33 - 44
Abstract: This article provides a national-level picture of food security and wellbeing in Kenya, focusing on the situation before the 2008 food price crisis, and the period after 2008. The extent and impact of food price changes differ spatially, and households have different ways of trying to respond. The major food price shocks in 2008 and 2011 impacted negatively on wellbeing, but even after 2011 prices continued to rise in most areas. Seasonal price movements also have adverse effects for resource-poor households. Food price rises have a particularly negative impact on the poorest households. Urban slum dwellers are vulnerable given their dependence on market purchases to meet food needs, but most rural households also have high dependence on market purchases. Current social protection programmes are piecemeal and unreliable. The article concludes with proposals on more effective social protection approaches and agricultural programmes which can address problems linked to food price rises.
- Macro Events and Micro Responses: Experiences from Bolivia and Guatemala
Authors: Gabriela Alcaraz V.
Pages: 45 - 52
Abstract: For Bolivia and Guatemala, the2007–08 food price crisis contributed to a slowdown in the economy and increased unemployment. For the poorer population the crisis meant an overstretching of the household finances and increased difficulties for ensuring household food security. Since 2010, food price increases have continued in both countries. Bolivian and Guatemalan households have coped and adapted to their current economic stress through a diverse set of mechanisms affecting not only family structures, dynamics and productivity, but also their future economic prospects. At an aggregate level, the outcomes are substantial. The reported and measured changes in dietary quality and intake have certainly had an impact on the population's nutritional status and general health. Longer-term effects at the national level will likely follow in the coming years. In both countries, the national governments need to strengthen their efforts for facilitating the access to quality employment, social protection, and to affordable and nutritious foods.
- Eat With Us: Insight into Household Food Habits in a Time of Food Price
Volatility in Zambian Communities
Authors: Mwila Mulumbi
Pages: 53 - 59
Abstract: Dramatic food price rises in Zambia followed the global food price crisis of 2008 and caused long-term damage to the lives and livelihoods of many low-income families. This article provides a view on what food was and is now on people's tables and explains how sudden increases in the price of food and other essentials has in some cases permanently altered what people eat, despite subsequent falls in prices. This article traces how change to what people can put on the table affects both individual and community wellbeing in terms of nutrition, taste and food heritage.
- The Role of Fatalism in Resilience to Food Price Volatility in Bangladesh
Authors: Ferdous Jahan; Mamun-ur-Rashid, Sharif A. Wahab
Pages: 60 - 67
Abstract: Millions of people in Bangladesh suffer from hunger, unpredictable and unstable livelihoods, precarious living conditions and social injustice. Yet they survive and become resilient. However, the resilience achieved by the poor is minimal and incremental in nature and does not result in their wellbeing. Based on three years of qualitative research, this article attempts to understand the nature of and pathways to ‘resilience of the poor people'. The article argues that poor people's approach to ‘resilience’ is twofold. First, they perceive their poverty and associated problems as ‘Allah's will', with not much to be done about it. At the same time, they engage in continuous innovative practices to survive. These two worldviews together ('fatalism’ and ‘self-help') make the poor ‘resilient'. This also ‘partially’ explains the absence of strong activism, collective action and protests within a context of state failure (in terms of ensuring rights and entitlements to its citizens).
- Food Prices and the Politics of Hunger: Beneath Market and State
Authors: Haris Gazdar
Pages: 68 - 75
Abstract: What accounts for the persistence of hunger and undernutrition in political and administrative systems which might be otherwise sensitive to the risk of food price volatility and market failure' If pre-empting food price volatility has a political constituency why is there not a similar constituency for preventing vulnerability to hunger' The policy response to globally-driven food price volatility in Pakistan was largely successful in achieving its proximate goals, and price spirals and market shortages in 2008 were aberrations from which lessons were drawn effectively. Research for the Life in a Time of Food Price Volatility project shows that the food economy of the poorest is relatively insulated from price fluctuations, and vulnerability to hunger is mostly driven by idiosyncratic shocks. The poorest often operate beneath the market, or at the lowest rung of a highly segmented market, and their expectations with respect to rights and entitlements to food correspond with their prevailing sources of informal social support.
- Food Price Volatility in Ethiopia: Public Pressure and State Response
Authors: Tassew Woldehanna; Yisak Tafere
Pages: 76 - 83
Abstract: The global market, variable agricultural production and irregular trading practices have marked food price volatility in Ethiopia over the last decade. However, the recent decline in global prices of food and fuel, coupled with state intervention in managing the supply of consumer goods, have brought some stability to food prices in 2014/15. While the safety net and price control measures could help mitigate the aggravation of impacts of food price increases on poor families, a more comprehensive food security approach is necessary. The article argues the importance of enhancing the purchasing power of the people.
- How to Support Poor Vietnamese Consumers to Deal with Food Price
Volatility and Food Safety Issues
Authors: Tran Cong Thang; Dinh Thi Bao Linh
Pages: 84 - 89
Abstract: With 66 per cent of the population living in rural areas, over half depending on farm activities, food security and food safety are now two sides of the government effort to ensure food accessibility for the poor in Vietnam. While people living on low incomes may have to choose cheaper food over safer food, they are now more aware of food safety issues, and need more support to access safe food. After a long time of focusing on increasing food security in terms of quantities, new efforts are now needed to change the practice and awareness of stakeholders to move to quality-oriented production and consumption, including creating reasonable incentives for food producers, socialising of food safety monitoring and improving food safety inspection in Vietnam.
- Food Price Volatility and the Worrying Trend in Children's Snacking in
Authors: Rachma Indah Nurbani
Pages: 90 - 97
Abstract: Rising food prices, increasing urbanisation, rising numbers of working women and reduced time for care has led to more children eating more pre-prepared and instant food in Indonesia. Besides the durability of much packaged food, its price is also less volatile and often cheaper than fresh food. The rising consumption of pre-prepared and instant food is a worrying trend for Indonesia because this newly middle-income country faces a problem of hidden hunger. Among households who took part in the Life in a Time of Food Price Volatility study, we found widespread concerns about the quality, nutritional value and safety of snacks and other instant foods eaten by children. We also heard about the effect on children's relations with their elders. This article looks at links between food prices and changing food habits and argues that children's snacking, while appearing micro, is creating macro-dynamics related to nutrition security and social wellbeing.
- Life Around the Firewood Stove: The Impact of Price Volatility
Authors: Alma Lucrecia Olivet López
Pages: 98 - 104
Abstract: The cooking fire at home is an important site for the transmission, through the oral tradition, of the continuity of history and culture. In Guatemala, cooking and eating around the fire is one of the ancestral practices that promotes communication between family members. The heat provided by firewood is exploited to cook and maintain a comfortable temperature inside the house, but also to transmit teachings and ancient secrets. The fire provides energy at the centre of family cohesion before and after the work day. Today, although families still gather around the stove, the practice is diminishing, in part because of the rising cost of food and firewood. This article looks at the way in which rising prices affect the use of firewood and considers the impact that this has on the transmission of cultural values from one generation to the next.
- Social Change, New Food Habits and Food Price Volatility in Burkina Faso
Authors: Ludovic Ouhonyioué Kibora
Pages: 105 - 109
Abstract: Food price volatility is at the core of many changes in people's livelihoods. Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world, and as such its population is hard hit by fluctuations in food prices. During our research in Kaya and Nessemtenga, northeast Burkina Faso, we found that in recent years people's food habits and way of life have changed. Notably, we observed an increase in the consumption of foods outside the home, which we see as a change in cultural habits resulting from the recurring increase in the price of basic goods.
- ‘Tell Me What You Eat and I'll Tell You Who You Are’: Changing Eating
Habits in Cochabamba, Bolivia
Authors: Rosario Léon
Pages: 110 - 115
Abstract: This article describes changes in the lives of families in two communities in the Cochabamba Region, Bolivia, caused in part by food price volatility. It questions whether government policy aimed at ‘Vivir Bien’ (Living Well), is tackling the real issues of ill-being that arise from the commercialisation of food. Adaptation to a rising cost of living has social, economic and cultural costs for the families. The article illustrates these changes by recovering the voices and views of the community members themselves. These changes are broader, more prolonged, and more complex than the ‘Vivir Bien’ policy has assumed.