Exploring definitions of food insecurity and vulnerability: time to refocus assessments
AbstractRecent high food prices and changes in the world food situation are exacerbating the conditions of households that are vulnerable to food insecurity, especially those with weak livelihood strategies. To address the impact of these and other stressors it is necessary to develop a deeper understanding of concepts such as â€˜vulnerabilityâ€™ and â€˜food insecurityâ€™. This is challenging as both concepts are used rather loosely in the food security literature, despite both having at least two dimensions. Vulnerability has an external and internal dimension, and food insecurity has a temporal and intensity dimension. However, assessments are often only concerned with one dimension at a time. An exploration of the two concepts suggests that in both cases the dimensions need to be combined in order to understand the different interactions and the interconnections between different dimensions and the multiple levels of the systems in which they are embedded. This combination of dimensions is important for understanding the significant role that livelihoods play in the accumulation of assets and for accessing food. It makes the understanding of the multiple causes and consequences of vulnerability and food insecurity for different households clearer. Those households and individuals considered chronically poor or food-insecure are likely to experience severe food insecurity in the long-term, as a result of their weak livelihoods and minimal assets. Consequently, future studies on vulnerability to food insecurity should focus on these chronically food insecure households in order to determine the multidimensional nature of the stressors they experience and their ability to cope and adapt to these stressors. This would contribute to our understanding of the contexts in which the data from larger quantitative studies are embedded.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA) in its journal Agrekon.
Volume (Year): 48 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
high food prices; livelihoods; vulnerability; food insecurity; multidimensional stressors; Consumer/Household Economics;
You can help add them by filling out this form.
reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (AgEcon Search).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.