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Naomi Hossain: What FPV means, why it matters and for whom

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Presentation at the FAC/IDS food price workshop, February 2012
http://www.future-agricultures.org/events/food-price-volatility

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Naomi Hossain: What FPV means, why it matters and for whom

  1. 1. What FPV means, why it matters and for whom: what we have learned from qualitative crisis monitoring since 2009Naomi Hossain, Participation Team IDS,based on work with partners in BRAC Development Institute, Rural CommunityNetwork, SMERU, Oxfam GB, University of Manchester, University of Sussex, andcolleagues and partners in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Kenya, Northern Ireland, Jamaica,Yemen, the UK and Zambia, funded by DFID, Joseph Rowntree Foundation &Oxfam GBPresentation to Future Agricultures Consortium workshopFinancial Markets and Food Price VolatilityFebruary 6 2012, IDS
  2. 2. Qualitative ‘crisis’ monitoring, 2009 --Initial aim: to gather evidence of the human impacts of theFFF ‘crisis’-Approach 2009-11: -Selected community ‘listening posts’, repeat visits to 8 since 2009 (2 each in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Kenya, Zambia) - Not only poorest communities - Qualitative & participatory - Focus on social impacts (neglected by quantitative measures)- From 2012 - 10 countries with Oxfam’s GROW campaign - sharper FPV focus - sharper focus on impacts on informal social protection & Research participants in Notun unpaid care Bazaar, Dhaka and Bekasi, near Jakarta
  3. 3. Some headline reflections on FPV:Food price spikes more of a ‘shock’ than the financial crisis - although second round financial crisis impacts were felt - & people felt the effects of commodity price fallsLiving with FPV is the distinctive new mark of the globalisationof povertyThe numbers lie because people on low incomes adjust, but povertyand nutritional estimates ignore - the decline in people’s wellbeing - the increased effort needed to provide nourishment - because this is (mainly women’s) unpaid care work & adjusting to food crises is just part of women’s natural altruistic instincts ...FPV has had incredibly powerful effects on popular politics
  4. 4. Food shopping (recall food basket method)Lower right: In 2011, MrsBanu’s weekly food shopcontained no lentils or soap,less tasty fish, but more 2011rice. The 2011 basket costher Tk 185.50 (US$1.56); February 2010 Dhakathe same items in 2010would have cost Tk 134(US$1.13). But if she hadnot adjusted her weeklyfood shop, her 2010 foodbasket would have cost Tk280.50 (US$3.85) in 2011 February 2011 Rubber farmers in South Kalimantanprices. in Indonesia have been enjoying high rubber prices
  5. 5. FPV matters to all, but take particular note of:The urban poor, who are rapidly growing in number globally - time to revisit questions of urban bias?Unpaid workers in the care economy - what does FPV mean for women’s empowerment?Informal sector workers - formal social protection fails this group in particularLow-paid formal sector workers - hence all the industrial unrestWho benefits - ? - no evidence that small farmers benefit - widespread popular perception that speculators and grain dealers do well because they hoard and profiteer
  6. 6. Why FPV matters:Some enduring poverty, nutritional and human developmentimpacts, more so when prices remain highBut also unmeasured effects of volatility per se: on-The burden of the unpaid work of nourishing hhs -Women work longer, harder hours with a range of knock-on effects -It is only ‘resilience’ because women don’t complain or show up in the official statistics- Social cohesion, sociality, social support- Raised stress levels, loss of pleasure in everyday life-The sense of social mobility, of making progressAll of which combines to build:A powerful popular grievance againstGovernments that fail to protect peopleagainst food price volatility

Presentation at the FAC/IDS food price workshop, February 2012 http://www.future-agricultures.org/events/food-price-volatility

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