Food security, livelihoods and rural development in Chrokkhlong-village : a local perspective to the food system change in Cambodia

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http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201703272499
Title: Food security, livelihoods and rural development in Chrokkhlong-village : a local perspective to the food system change in Cambodia
Alternative title: Increasing food security for all? : Challenges of strengthening food security of a Cambodian village
Author: Salmivaara, Maikki
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta, Politiikan ja talouden tutkimuksen laitos
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political and Economic Studies
Helsingfors universitet, Statsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Institutionen för politik och ekonomi
Publisher: Helsingfors universitet
Date: 2013
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201703272499
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/39627
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Development Studies
Kehitysmaatutkimus
U-landsforskning
Abstract: Food has featured in the global development agenda for several decades. However, increasing food prices and the global food crisis of 2007-2008, fuelled the debate around food security, which was also one the main thematic priorities of Finn Church Aid's strategy in 2009-2012. This thesis was commissioned by FCA in order to examine food security in the context of their development cooperation project in Cambodia. The purpose of the study is to support FCA and their local partner organization, the Lutheran World Federation Cambodia’s work on food security. The study has two objectives: to contribute to the understanding of the intertwined issues of rural development and food security, and to the understanding of the food security approach and intervention logics. Firstly, food reality is scrutinized in a Cambodian rural village. The focus is on the functioning of the food system at the local level, and as part of a wider food system reaching beyond the village boundaries and even the national level. In addition, the household level food security is analysed from the perspective of livelihoods - means of gaining a living - and different ways of commanding or accessing food. This level allows scrutinizing how village level changes in the food system affect different kinds of families. Secondly, the study analyses the food security approach of LWF, with regard to the village food reality and in the light of politicised international discourses on food security. The thesis is a contextual case study of the village of Chrokhlong, based on one month’s field work period in November and December 2010, as well as LWF Cambodia’s program documents and interviews with the staff. The field work material consists of 43 interviews with the villagers, 76 informal discussions and personal observation. Food security and general development themes in Cambodia are explored through literature and personal interviews. The study found that the local food security is affected by important changes of the wider food system. Population growth and economic liberalization increase pressures on land and natural resources in the village context. Accumulation and fragmentation of land and degradation of common resources are related to the increasing commoditization of the village food system. Food security has become an issue of purchasing power. Land for rice cultivation appears as the most important factor contributing to household food security. The most food insecure families lack land and means of generating incomes in order to purchase food, such as family members in working age and good health. The poorest families are the most affected by the depletion of common resources and the increasing food prices. At a strategic level, LWF has adopted a holistic approach to food security and defines their objective as 'right to food' in line with a rights based approach to development. However, at the practical level the approach seems narrower, and the work on food security focuses on enhancing food production. This focus risks not taking into account the food insecurity of the land-poor families who do not benefit from increasing productivity. The centrality of the land issue and the specific situation of the most food insecure families is no considered sufficiently. Based on this case study, an integrated and holistic rural development approach would seem to provide relatively more benefits to households that are able to produce to markets, while the food security of the poorest families can be even further threatened by a greater dependence of markets. While LWF’s ideals seem to reflect a 'food justice' discourse, their practical work is more in line with the hegemonic discourse labelled as 'food security', that does not aim at affecting the structural causes of food insecurity at different levels.
Subject: food security
food system
rural development
Cambodia
elintarviketurvallisuus
maaseutu -- yhteiskunnallinen kehitys
Kambodza


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