A blind spot in food and nutrition security: where culture and social change shape the local food plate
- 1.6k Downloads
It is estimated that over 800 million people are hungry each day and two billion are suffering from the consequences of vitamin and mineral deficiencies. While a paradigm shift towards a multi-dimensional and multi-sectoral approach to food and nutrition insecurity is emerging, technical approaches largely prevail to tackle the causes of hunger and malnutrition. Founded in original in-depth field research among smallholder farmers in southwest Kenya, we argue that incorporating cultural or social dimensions in this technical debate is imperative and that by systematically overlooking these dimensions, food insecurity cannot be accurately captured nor properly addressed. Based on a sub-location in rural southwest Kenya where the food plate is rapidly narrowing towards a high-calorie low nutrient diet and where over 80 % of households experience food shortages at least once a year, conclusions suggest that preferences, the local function of food, and the practices that emerge therefrom can affect the regularity of meals and their composition. The findings allow us to complement emerging research and program development with a more comprehensive and locally adapted approach to tackle food and nutrition insecurity.
KeywordsFood security Nutrition security Nutrition transition
Centre for African Bio-Entrepreneurship
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Scaling up nutrition
- Berti, P.R., and A.D. Jones. 2013. Biodiversity’s contribution to dietary diversity: Magnitude, meaning and measurement. In Diversifying food and diets: Using agricultural biodiversity to improve nutrition and health, ed. J. Fanzo, D. Hunter, T. Borelli, and F. Mattei, 186–206. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Boserup, E. 1989. Women’s role in economic development. London, UK: Earthscan.Google Scholar
- Devereux, S. 2000. Famine in the twentieth century, institute of development studies working paper 105. University of Sussex.Google Scholar
- Fanzo, J., and F. Mattei. 2010. Ensuring agriculture, biodiversity and nutrition remain central to addressing the MDG1 hunger target. In Sustainable diets and biodiversity: Directions and solutions for policy, research and action, ed. B. Burlingame, and S. Dernini, 44–53. Rome: FAO.Google Scholar
- Fischer, E., and M. Qaim. 2012. Gender, agricultural commercialization, and collective action in Kenya. GlobalFood discussion paper no. 8. Germany: Georg-August-University of Goettingen.Google Scholar
- Fleuret, P., and A. Fleuret. 1980. Nutrition, consumption, and agricultural change. Human Organization 39(3): 250–260.Google Scholar
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). 1996. Rome declaration on world food security and world food summit plan of action. World Food Summit 13-17 November 1996. Rome, Italy: FAO.Google Scholar
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). 2006. Food security. FAO Policy Brief 2. http://www.fao.org/es/ESA/policybriefs/pb_02.pdf. Accessed 15 July 2013.
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). 2012. The state of food insecurity in the world 2012: Economic growth is necessary but not sufficient to accelerate reduction of hunger and malnutrition. Rome: FAO, IFAD, and WFP.Google Scholar
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). 2013. The state of food insecurity in the world 2013: The multiple dimensions of food security. Rome: FAO, IFAD, and WFP.Google Scholar
- Frison, E., I.F. Smith, T. Johns, J. Cherfas, and P.B. Eyzaguirre. 2011b. Agricultural biodiversity, nutrition, and health: Making a difference to hunger and nutrition in the developing world. Food and Nutrition Bulletin 27(2): 167–179.Google Scholar
- Gasper, D. 2007. Conceptualising human needs and wellbeing. In Wellbeing in developing countries: From theory to research, ed. I. Gough, and J.A. McGregor, 47–70. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Gillespie, S., and J. Mason. 1991. Nutrition-relevant actions—Some experiences from the eighties and lessons for the nineties. ACC/SCN policy discussion paper no. 10.Google Scholar
- Graham, R.D., R.M. Welch, D.A. Saunders, I. Oritz-Monasterio, H.E. Bouis, M. Bonierbale, S. de Haan, G. Burgos, G. Thiele, R. Liria, C.A. Meisner, S.E. Beebe, M.J. Potts, M. Kadian, P.R. Hobbs, R.K. Gupta, and S. Twomlow. 2007. Nutritious subsistence food systems. Advances in Agronomy 92: 1–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Gross, R., H. Schoeneberger, H. Pfeifer, and H.J.A. Preuss. 2000. The four dimensions of food and nutrition security: Definitions and concepts. Internationale Weiterbildung und Entwicklung gGmbH (InWent) and FAO.Google Scholar
- Hawkes, C. 2006. Uneven dietary development: Linking the policies and processes of globalization with the nutrition transition, obesity and diet-related chronic diseases. Globalization and Health 2(4).Google Scholar
- Herforth, A. 2010. Promotion of traditional African vegetables in Kenya and Tanzania: A case study of an intervention representing emerging imperatives in global nutrition. Ph.D. thesis. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University.Google Scholar
- International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). 2012. 2012 Global Hunger Index. The challenge of hunger: Ensuring sustainable food security under land, water, and energy stresses. http://www.ifpri.org/sites/default/files/publications/ghi12.pdf. Accessed 5 Jan 2014.
- International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). 2014. 2013 Global Food Policy Report. http://www.ifpri.org/sites/default/files/publications/gfpr2013.pdf. Accessed 13 Jan 2014.
- International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). 2012. Rural poverty in Kenya. http://www.ruralpovertyportal.org/web/rural-poverty-portal/country/home/tags/kenya. Accessed 10 July 2013.
- Johns, T., and S. Bhuwon. 2004. Biocultural diversity in the sustainability of developing-country food systems. Food and Nutrition Bulletin 25(2): 143–155.Google Scholar
- Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. 2008. Food insecurity assessment in Kenya (Based on Kenya Integrated Household Budget Survey, 2005/06). Nairobi, Kenya: Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.Google Scholar
- Kenya Ministry of State for Planning, National Development. 2009. Samia District Development Plan: 2008–2012. Nairobi: Office of the Prime Minister.Google Scholar
- K’Okul, R.N.O. 1991. Maternal and child health in Kenya. Finland: Monographs of the Finnish Society of Development Studies.Google Scholar
- Lairon, D. 2010. Biodiversity and sustainable nutrition with a food-based approach. In Sustainable diets and biodiversity: Directions and solutions for policy, research and action, ed. B. Burlingame, and S. Dernini, 30–35. Rome: FAO.Google Scholar
- Lang, T., and M. Heasman. 2004. Food wars: The global battle for mouths, minds and markets. London: Earthscan.Google Scholar
- Mango, N., and P. Hebinck. 2004. Cultural repertoires and socio-technological regimes: Maize in Luoland. In Seeds of transition: Essays on novelty production, niches and regimes in agriculture, ed. J.S.C. Wiskerke, and J.D. van der Ploeg, 285–317. Assen, The Netherlands: Royal Van Gorcum.Google Scholar
- Maxwell, S., and M. Smith. 1992. Part I: Household food security: A conceptual review. Rome: International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). http://www.ifad.org/hfs/tools/hfs/hfspub/hfs_1.pdf. Accessed 3 Feb 2012.
- McCann, J.C. 2005. Maize and grace: Africa’s encounter with a new world crop, 1500–2000. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- McMichael, P. 2007. Feeding the world: Agriculture, development and ecology. In Coming to terms with nature. Socialist Register 2007, ed. L. Panitch, and C. Leys, 170–194. London: Merlin Press.Google Scholar
- Micronutrient Initiative. 2009. Investing in the future: A united call to action on vitamin and mineral deficiencies: Global Report 2009. Ontario, Canada: Micronutrient Initiative. http://www.unitedcalltoaction.org/documents/Investing_in_the_future.pdf.
- Noack, A.L. 2013. A food plate in transition: Implications for food and nutrition security in rural southwest Kenya. Master’s thesis, University of Amsterdam.Google Scholar
- Odame, H., and N.R.M. Pouw. 2011. Samia baseline survey 2011. University of Amsterdam and Center for African Bio-Entrepreneurship.Google Scholar
- Overseas Development Institute (ODI). January 3, 2014. Overweight and obese adults reaching almost a billion in developing countries, as numbers continue to grow in richer nations. Announcement. http://www.odi.org/news/703-overweight-obese-adults-reaching-almost-billion-developing-countries-as-numbers-continue-grow-richer-nations.
- Popkin, B.M. 2006. Global nutrition dynamics: The world is shifting rapidly toward a diet linked with noncommunicable diseases. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 84(2): 289–298.Google Scholar
- Pouw, N. A. Schreij, and H. Odame. 2012a. Livelihoods and vulnerabilities of smallholder farmers in Samia District, Kenya. Policy Brief 1/12. CABE and University of Amsterdam.Google Scholar
- Pouw, N., A. Schreij, and H. Odame. 2012b. Social capital of smallholder farmers in Samia District, Kenya. Policy Brief 2/12. CABE and University of Amsterdam.Google Scholar
- Ruel, M.T. 2003. Operationalizing dietary diversity: A review of measurement issues and research priorities. Journal of Nutrition 133(11): 3911S–3926S.Google Scholar
- Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN). 2014. http://scalingupnutrition.org/. Accessed 10 Jan 2014.
- United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). 1980. The state of the world’s children 1980–81. http://www.unicef.org/sowc/archive/ENGLISH/The%20State%20of%20the%20World%27s%20Children%201980-81.pdf.
- Von Braun, J., and E. Kennedy. 1994. Agricultural commercialization, economic development, and nutrition. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
- World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF). 2007. Food, nutrition, physical activity, and the prevention of cancer: A global perspective. Washington, DC: American Institute for Cancer Research.Google Scholar