The Politics of Land and Food Scarcity (Earthscan Food and Agriculture)


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Language: English. Brand new Book. In recent years the issue of food security has become centre stage in the global agenda. It also contributes to engagement in a new global food policy, through a political analysis of land and food scarcity, including 'land grabs' by affluent countries in poorer nations. Seller Inventory AAS Book Description Condition: New. This is Brand New. Seller Inventory Manohar Book Description Routledge.

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View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Buy New Learn more about this copy. About AbeBooks. Other Popular Editions of the Same Title. Search for all books with this author and title. A robust analysis of the food access dimension also requires indicators of food security outcomes.

Food security

Following the methodology of Coates et al. Following the methodology of Deitchler et al. The MAHFP is measured as the number of months over the previous 12 months that a household self-reports having had adequate access to food for consumption through household production, purchase, or aid [ 45 ]. The HDDS is an indicator of household-level dietary diversity that has been validated as a meaningful measure of household food access: households consuming a more diverse diet as assessed by the HDDS were shown to have greater access to food, as indicated by food consumption and expenditure data [ 53 ].

To calculate the HDDS, we asked the female head of household whether or not a specific list of foods had been prepared and eaten in the household the previous day.

"Understanding global food security and nutrition"

We then tallied the number of distinct food groups up to 12 that had been eaten within the household the previous day [ 46 ]. Adequate household access to food does not necessarily correspond to adequate food utilization and nutritional outcomes at the individual level. To measure the utilization dimension, we used a single proxy of the dietary quality of children called the Food Consumption Score FCS [ 47 ]. The FCS is a composite score based on dietary diversity, food frequency, and the weighted nutritional importance of different food groups [ 47 ], and is calculated on the basis of standardized survey questions.

Data on dietary diversity and food frequency have proven to be reliable proxy indicators of diet quality across a range of settings [ 54 , 55 ]. We calculated the FCS for one child randomly selected between the ages of 1 and 8 years old per household, excepting households with no children in the age cohort. To calculate the FCS, we asked mothers about the type and frequency of foods eaten by a child the previous day [ 47 ]. Given a lack of generally agreed-upon measures, for the purposes of this paper, we propose using the ecosystem services framework as an entry-point to better understanding and measuring food system stability.

We employ indicators of ecosystem services—defined as the benefits that humans derive from nature [ 30 ]—in order to explore how agroecosystems and their specific services can contribute to food security in the long-term. It has been shown that the ecosystem services generated by agroecosystems, such as biological pest control and nutrient cycling, are a key part of how agroecosystems can enable long-term food security [ 30 , 58 , 59 ]. Recognizing that the best indicators of stability are often slowly changing ecological variables such as regulating ecosystem services [ 58 ], we assessed two slowly changing regulating ecosystem services—biological pest control and soil nutrient regulation—to better understand food system stability.

To investigate the status of biological pest control in the parcels of adopter and non-adopter households, we employed an indicator called the Environmental Impact Quotient EIQ of pesticide use [ 60 ]. The EIQ is widely used to estimate environmental hazards associated with agricultural pesticide use [ 48 ]. It is a continuous measure of the environmental impact of pesticide use per hectare and a composite hazard indicator that includes dimensions of ecological, farmworker, and consumer exposure risk to pesticides used in crop production [ 60 , 61 ].

The higher the EIQ score per hectare, the higher the hazard posed to the social-ecological system. We hypothesize that higher EIQ scores indicate lower provision of the service of biological pest control, as natural pest enemies are often eliminated through increasing pesticide use [ 62 ]. We calculated the average EIQ score per hectare for each household in the sample, based on survey questions detailing seasonal pesticide use using the methodology of Kovach et al.

The EIQ score per ha was calculated as a function of pesticide dosage, application rate, and a standard environmental impact value assigned to each active ingredient [ 60 ]. This indicator is only an entry point to understanding soil nutrient regulation, as fertilizer use may indicate as much or more about farmer responses to perceived soil nutrient levels than it does about soil nutrients or nutrient regulation.

To determine whether or not there are significant differences in the food security status of adopters and non-adopters for each of the four dimensions, we tested for significant differences between these two groups for each of the different indicators of each dimension. In the case of multiple comparisons with a significant test result, we conducted post-hoc Tukey tests. We used chi-squared tests to compare nominal or ordinal level data.

The general characteristics of households—including household size, agricultural land holdings, the average number of children per household, and the ages and literacy levels of female and male heads of household—were not significantly different between adopter and non-adopter households Table 4. Our results indicate that non-adopters had 0. Assuming that approximately 1. Food availability, as measured by staple food production and staple food consumption, did not differ significantly between groups.

Corn and bean yields obtained by both groups were consistent with the national average yields for both crops [ 65 ]. The average broccoli yield obtained by adopter households was also consistent with the national average Table 5 [ 65 ]. The average daily per capita incomes of non-adopters 1. The Guatemalan general rural poverty line was Looking across the nine questions comprising the HFIAS module Table 6 , there was only one significant difference in the response rate for a question between groups.

According to another indicator of food access, the Months of Adequate Home Food Provisioning, both adopter and non-adopter households reported that they had inadequate food both produced and purchased over a least four months of the previous year. Local diets are based on the consumption of staple cereals, legumes, sugar and honey, and coffee.

The food items that make up the additional diversity of higher scoring diets include oils, vegetables, fruits, and eggs. Households with the highest dietary diversity also ate meats and roots or tubers typically potatoes. The median EIQ per hectare for non-adopters was 4 whereas for adopters it was nearly 52 Table 7. This follow-up question was not posed to every farmer, which accounts for response levels below the sample size.

Local farmers identified clubroot, a disease affecting Brassica crops and caused by the parasite Plasmodiophora brassicae Woronin, as being their chief agricultural concern during a focus group. They prefer to give them to the market. Multiple study participants expressed concern that male household heads frequently purchased non-essential items, particularly alcohol, in lieu of nutritious foods. Poor hygiene and inadequate sanitation were cited as factors influencing food utilization.

Focus group participants reported that that improper handling of chicken manure used to support broccoli production fosters housefly populations, contaminates local food, and contributes to diarrhea and malnutrition. Locals report that houseflies were not a major problem prior to broccoli production. A focus group with male farmers also revealed concerns related to the productivity of local agricultural land, owing to perceived soil degradation over time. Overall, participants found it difficult to generalize differences in the food security status of non-adopter and adopter households, and instead emphasized the importance of household-level allocation decisions, as well as education and general health as key determinants of food security status.

In our study, the food security of NTX adopters mostly did not differ from that of non-adopters, except for the dimension of food access, which differed due to increased income for NTX adopters. Adopters used significantly more agrochemicals than non-adopters, which may be associated with declines in the regulating ecosystem services of biological pest control and nutrient cycling over the long-term. Broccoli farming did not reduce the staple food production of adopter households relative to non-adopters.

Although Webb et al. Given that there was no significant difference in the average size of land holdings between groups, staple crop production by adopters is likely maintained by multiple factors, including: i a shift by adopters towards planting corn that can be harvested within four months instead of a traditional nine-month variety , allowing them to grow both broccoli and corn on the same land in any given year; ii the preference of non-adopters to continue farming nine-month corn in order to maintain low farm input costs and because of taste; and, iii a possible spillover effect of broccoli fertilization on the yields of staple crops [ 17 ].

In our study design, we had initially hypothesized that corn and bean production would be displaced by broccoli production, however, our results are instead consistent with studies which found that the household production of staple crops can be maintained or even increase with NTX adoption [ 16 , 22 , 23 ].

Nevertheless, our results indicate that higher incomes associated with NTX agriculture did not coincide with improvements in other indicators of food access and food utilization. The majority of adopters and non-adopters were categorized as moderately to extremely food insecure according to the HFIAS, and, on average, households reported being without adequate food for four months of the year.

Households felt anxious about the food supply and also coped with food of insufficient quality and the physical consequences of these deficits—regardless of whether or not they chose to partake in NTX agriculture.


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Webb et al. Notably, we found that male household heads often used NTX profits to purchase non-essential items or alcohol in lieu of additional food. This supports the work of Katz , who argues that male-biased NTX market structures threaten to deepen asymmetrical intra-household resource distribution and thus limit improvements in food access or nutrition [ 69 ].

Interestingly, the Food Consumption Scores of children suggest that the dietary quality of children was mostly adequate across groups, regardless of adoption status. However, our understanding of nutritional outcomes using this indicator is limited because current benchmarks for the FCS may significantly underreport cases of inadequate food consumption in Guatemala [ 47 ], and because the FCS gives only a snapshot of food consumption over the previous week for one individual. That higher income—a food security determinant commonly recognized as an indicator of food access—is not associated with better food access or food utilization implies that policies that aim to improve income alone will not be adequate for improving food security outcomes.

Our results are consistent with an important study by von Braun et al. Other studies have also found that NTX agriculture does not necessarily lead to improved dietary energy and protein intake [ 17 ] or improved nutritional outcomes in Guatemala [ 25 , 76 ]. Despite the fact that positive relationships between income, food access, and food utilization cannot be assumed, it is also true that sometimes income gains from NTX farming do lead to improvements in food security [ 29 , 77 ].

Schuftan argues that although multiple studies suggest that household income alone cannot lead to improved food security and nutritional status, income does have an important role to play in improving food security, however typically for the lowest income decile households or for the already extremely malnourished [ 77 ]. Our results suggest that broccoli production may be undermining the ability of local agricultural systems to naturally control pests and regulate nutrients, recognizing that adopters used significantly higher quantities of pesticides and fertilizers than non-adopters.

The higher environmental impact quotient EIQ of pesticide use associated with adopters suggests that the NTX model is driving these changes. The degradation of agricultural ecosystem services that this implies has consequences for food security because undermining natural assets can limit the capacity of households to generate future-income and avoid social vulnerability [ 82 ]. There are some limitations related to our choice of study design.

In particular, the relatively small sample size 52 households makes the generalization of findings to reflect the subgroups in the population difficult [ 84 ]. Nevertheless, the results of our case study may provide constructive insights into food security and how we measure it [ 43 ], and adds to a growing body of research linking NTX agriculture with food security outcomes in Guatemala. There is therefore a possibility that households were classified as food secure, when individual members were not, or vice versa [ 85 ]. Taken together, the limitations described do not invalidate the conclusions of the study but rather call for more diversified information in the future.

Selecting appropriate and adequate indicators for the dimensions of food security remains a stubborn challenge. More work is needed to identify indicators that reflect different dimensions and to develop a holistic, systematic approach to measurement [ 26 ]. The question of how to measure the dimension of stability stands out as a particularly important problem area. While indicators of ecosystem services—particularly regulating services—offer a promising new avenue to this end, a concerted effort to develop social, economic, and environmental indicators of stability is needed.

Our vision for food security measurement is an approach that examines multiple dimensions, considers a full suite of social, economic, and ecological indicators, and follows both short- and long-term trends. As more systematic approaches to food security assessment are implemented, we hope that lessons learned will help the international community to thoroughly investigate the strengths and limitations of the NTX model in terms of alleviating household food insecurity.

With this in mind—and recognizing that positive relationships between NTX adoption, income, food security, and nutrition cannot be assumed—further empirical research is needed, particularly long-term studies that address both the timing and duration of NTX adoption. Longitudinal studies with panel data collection are needed to estimate the causal impacts of NTX adoption on food security outcomes. Meanwhile, policy-makers continue to promote NTX agriculture in Guatemala and across poor, food insecure parts of the world [ 70 ].

These agencies would do well to consider—and measure—which aspects of food security change with NTX adoption, which do not, and the timeframe of any changes. In particular, if NTX adopters have higher incomes but similar levels of other indicators of food security, we might ask ourselves whether NTX adoption is having the results we envision for local communities.

Overall, more holistic approaches to food security assessment may help to better identify potential food security trade-offs and improve the targeting of interventions, while also shedding light on the benefits and drawbacks of NTX agriculture as a strategy to alleviate smallholder food insecurity in developing nations. Sweeping arguments are often made either for or against the potential for NTX agriculture to improve the food security of smallholder farmers in developing countries. However, the results of our study—the first to systematically compare the food security status of adopters and non-adopters across four dimensions of food security—indicate that these arguments may be lacking in necessary nuance.

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It is therefore critically important to consider how NTX production may affect all four dimensions of food security, while recognizing that different indicators paint different pictures of household food security. As the commercialization of smallholder agriculture expands across Guatemala, understanding these interactions has important implications for the food security and wellbeing of the rural poor. We would like to thank Dr. Nicolas Kosoy of McGill University for his support and expertise.

We also thank Jhania Soberanis Bardales for support in the field, and the anonymous reviewers whose comments improved this manuscript. Browse Subject Areas? Click through the PLOS taxonomy to find articles in your field. Abstract As the production of non-traditional export NTX crops by smallholder households in developing countries expands, there is a compelling need to understand the potential effects of this type of agricultural production on household food security and nutrition.

Introduction The increased commercialization of agriculture and diversification into non-traditional export crops NTXs by smallholder farmers has been touted as a growth-oriented strategy to reduce rural poverty and combat food insecurity [ 1 ].


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Download: PPT. Table 1. Key studies exploring the food security implications of NTX production across the four dimensions of food security: Availability, access, utilization, and stability. Table 2. The four guiding research hypotheses for this study in relation to the four dimensions of food security.

Study location Guatemala is a challenging and appropriate place to explore the relationship between NTX agriculture and household food security. Fig 1. Calculating food security indicators Separate indicators and data collection methods are needed to independently assess each dimension of food security Table 3.

Table 3. The 11 indicators used to assess the food security of households across the four dimensions of food security: Availability, access, utilization, and stability. Food availability. Food access. Food utilization. Food stability. Statistical analyses To determine whether or not there are significant differences in the food security status of adopters and non-adopters for each of the four dimensions, we tested for significant differences between these two groups for each of the different indicators of each dimension. Results The general characteristics of households—including household size, agricultural land holdings, the average number of children per household, and the ages and literacy levels of female and male heads of household—were not significantly different between adopter and non-adopter households Table 4.

Table 4. Differences in food availability between NTX adopters and non-adopters Food availability, as measured by staple food production and staple food consumption, did not differ significantly between groups.

Table 5. Table 6. Differences in food system stability between NTX adopters and non-adopters Biological control of pests. Table 7. Nutrient cycling. Discussion In our study, the food security of NTX adopters mostly did not differ from that of non-adopters, except for the dimension of food access, which differed due to increased income for NTX adopters. Food availability Broccoli farming did not reduce the staple food production of adopter households relative to non-adopters.

Food stability: A long-term perspective Our results suggest that broccoli production may be undermining the ability of local agricultural systems to naturally control pests and regulate nutrients, recognizing that adopters used significantly higher quantities of pesticides and fertilizers than non-adopters. Study limitations There are some limitations related to our choice of study design. Recommendations for future research and policy-making Selecting appropriate and adequate indicators for the dimensions of food security remains a stubborn challenge.

Conclusions Sweeping arguments are often made either for or against the potential for NTX agriculture to improve the food security of smallholder farmers in developing countries. Supporting information. S1 File. Household survey questions. S2 File. Food security data. References 1. World Bank. World Development Report Agriculture for Development. Singh BP. Nontraditional crop production in Africa for export. In: Janick J, Whipkey A, editors. Trends in new crops and new uses.

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The market for non-traditional agricultural exports. Commodities and Trade Technical Paper. Carletto C, Kilic T. Nontraditional agricultural exports in Latin America. Lat Am Res Rev. View Article Google Scholar 7. Collier P. The future of perennial crops. Afr Dev Rev. View Article Google Scholar 8.

Timmer CP. The macro dimensions of food security: economic growth, equitable distribution, and food price stability. Food Policy. View Article Google Scholar 9. Stanley DL, Bunnag S. A new look at the benefits of diversification: lessons from Central America. Applied Economics. View Article Google Scholar Export diversification and structural dynamics in the growth process: The case of Chile.

J Dev Econ. Little PD. Contract farming and the development question. Living under contract: contract farming and agrarian transformation in sub-Saharan Africa. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press; Zeller M, Sharma M. Many borrow, more save, and all insure: implications for food and micro-finance policy. Gentilini U, Webb P. How are we doing on poverty and hunger reduction? A new measure of country performance.

Journal of Development Studies. Dewey KG. Nutritional consequences of the transformation from subsistence to commercial agriculture in Tabasco, Mexico. Human Ecology. Nontraditional export crops in Guatemala: Effects on production, income, and nutrition. Research Report Household income, food availability, and commercial crop production by smallholder farmers in the western highlands of Guatemala. Econ Dev Cult Change. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. An introduction to the basic concepts of food security.

Stamoulis KG, Zezza A. A conceptual framework for national agricultural, rural development, and food security strategies and policies. Agricultural and Development Economics Division. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; Ingram J. A food systems approach to researching food security and its interactions with global environmental change. Food Secur. Immink M, Alarcon J. Household food security, nutrition and crop diversification among smallholder farmers in the highlands of Guatemala. Ecology of Food and Nutrition.

1. Introduction

Katz EG. The impact of non-traditional agriculture on food expenditures and consumption in the Guatemalan Central Highlands: An intra-household per- spective. Food and Nutrition Bulletin ;15 4. Govereh J, Jayne T. Cash cropping and food crop productivity: synergies or trade-offs?. Agricultural Economics.

Hamilton S, Fischer EF. Non-traditional agricultural exports in highland Guatemala: Understandings of risk and perceptions of change. Exploring mechanisms of food insecurity in indigenous agricultural communities in Guatemala: a mixed methods study.

The Politics of Land and Food Scarcity (Earthscan Food and Agriculture) The Politics of Land and Food Scarcity (Earthscan Food and Agriculture)
The Politics of Land and Food Scarcity (Earthscan Food and Agriculture) The Politics of Land and Food Scarcity (Earthscan Food and Agriculture)
The Politics of Land and Food Scarcity (Earthscan Food and Agriculture) The Politics of Land and Food Scarcity (Earthscan Food and Agriculture)
The Politics of Land and Food Scarcity (Earthscan Food and Agriculture) The Politics of Land and Food Scarcity (Earthscan Food and Agriculture)
The Politics of Land and Food Scarcity (Earthscan Food and Agriculture) The Politics of Land and Food Scarcity (Earthscan Food and Agriculture)
The Politics of Land and Food Scarcity (Earthscan Food and Agriculture) The Politics of Land and Food Scarcity (Earthscan Food and Agriculture)
The Politics of Land and Food Scarcity (Earthscan Food and Agriculture) The Politics of Land and Food Scarcity (Earthscan Food and Agriculture)

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