Case Studies in Food Policy for Developing Countries

Case Studies in Food Policy for Developing Countries: Policies for Health, Nutrition, Food Consumption, and Poverty

Per Pinstrup-Andersen
Fuzhi Cheng
Søren E. Frandsen
Arie Kuyvenhoven
Joachim von Braun
Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: Cornell University Press
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    Case Studies in Food Policy for Developing Countries
    Book Description:

    The food problems now facing the world-scarcity and starvation, contamination and illness, overabundance and obesity-are both diverse and complex. What are their causes? How severe are they? Why do they persist? What are the solutions?

    In three volumes that serve as valuable teaching tools and have been designed to complement the textbook Food Policy for Developing Countries by Per Pinstrup-Andersen and Derrill D. Watson II, they call upon the wisdom of disciplines including economics, nutrition, sociology, anthropology, environmental science, medicine, and geography to create a holistic picture of the state of the world's food systems today.

    Volume I of the Case Studies addresses policies related to health, nutrition, food consumption, and poverty.

    eISBN: 978-0-8014-6636-6
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction and Overview
    (pp. 1-4)

    Food systems are complex, and public sector action is critical to guide them toward the fulfillment of societal goals. Insufficient understanding of how food systems work, however, and failure to understand the effects of potential and actual government action are major reasons why food systems operate at suboptimal levels. Nowhere are the consequences of a poorly functioning food system more severe than in developing countries, where every fourth preschool child is malnourished and more than 800 million people suffer from food insecurity. At the same time, chronic diseases caused by being overweight or obese are becoming a major public health...

  5. Part One Human Health and Nutrition Policies

    • Chapter One HIV/AIDS, Gender, and Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa (3-1)
      (pp. 7-20)
      Anandita Philipose

      HIV/AIDS continues to spread across the world at a rapid rate, with close to 5 million new HIV infections in 2006 alone. Sub-Saharan Africa, the worst-affected region, is home to two-thirds of all adults and children with HIV globally. Southern Africa is the epicenter of the epidemic—one-third of all people with HIV globally live there and 34 percent of all deaths due to AIDS in 2006 occurred there [UNAIDS 2006]. This case study examines the spread of the epidemic and its impact on food insecurity through a gender lens.

      The UNAIDS Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic (2004) warned...

    • Chapter Two Food Security, Nutrition, and Health in Costa Rica’s Indigenous Populations (3-2)
      (pp. 21-36)
      Anna Herforth

      Indigenous groups all over the world have been economically, politically, and socially marginalized and have worse health and nutrition outcomes and more food insecurity than mainstream populations. Costa Rica has been held up as an exemplar country for good development. Per capita gross national income and literacy in Costa Rica is the highest out of all Latin American countries; infant and under-five mortality rates, low birth weight, moderate and severe under-five malnutrition, and maternal mortality rates are the lowest. The indigenous people of Costa Rica, however—eight groups that represent 1.7 percent of the population—have not shared in the...

    • Chapter Three Iron Deficiency in Bangladesh (3-3)
      (pp. 37-46)
      Angela Mwaniki

      Iron deficiency, the most prevalent micronutrient deficiency in the world, affects more than 2 billion people. In Bangladesh it affects about half of all children and more than 70 percent of all women. The main cause of iron deficiency in Bangladesh is chronic inadequate dietary intake. This low iron intake has been attributed to many factors, including poverty, diets low in iron and rich in antinutrients, and hookworm infestation. Indeed, because the Bangladesh diet is dominated by consumption of polished rice, a poor micronutrient source, the population suffers from multiple micronutrient deficiencies.

      Various interventions exist to address iron deficiency, including...

    • Chapter Four The Policy Process of Increasing Micronutrient Programming in India (3-4)
      (pp. 47-56)
      Anna Herforth

      Deficiencies of micronutrients—particularly iron, iodine, vitamin A, zinc, and folic acid—wreak havoc on survival, health, and productivity around the world. Micronutrient deficiencies are often called “hidden hunger” because they do not manifest themselves in immediate physical signs but are insidious in causing disease. They are particularly problematic in India because of the sheer numbers of people affected: 35 percent of the world's malnourished children live in India, and 42 percent of children in India are stunted. The Indian government has not met its current goals related to reducing micronutrient deficiencies.

      In order to increase the profile of programs...

    • Chapter Five Developing a National Food Fortification Program in the Dominican Republic (3-5)
      (pp. 57-68)
      Sunny S. Kim

      Micronutrient deficiencies, particularly iron and vitamin A deficiencies, are considered a major public health problem in the Dominican Republic. In 2003, to respond to this problem and to take advantage of the opportunity to receive financial support from a global funding donor, the Dominican Republic developed a proposal to implement a national wheat flour and sugar fortification program to improve the micronutrient status of its population. This case study explores the country’s experience in developing the national food fortification program, offering an analysis of policy issues, stakeholders, and policy options.

      Food fortification has led to rapid improvements in the micronutrient...

    • Chapter Six Biofortification in a Food Chain Approach in West Africa (3-6)
      (pp. 69-80)
      Maja Slingerland

      About 800 million people suffer from hunger, but even more suffer from micronutrient malnutrition, also called “hidden hunger.” Iodine, vitamin A, iron, and zinc malnutrition are major concerns. About 2 billion people, mainly women and young children, suffer from deficiencies of iron and zinc, which lead to impaired growth and development, low daily work output, and increased mortality. The supply of iron (Fe) and zinc (Zn) falls short when people suffer from food shortages, when consumed foods have a low Fe or Zn content, or when absorption of Fe and Zn from consumed food is inhibited by the presence of...

    • Chapter Seven Biofortification as a Vitamin A Deficiency Intervention in Kenya (3-7)
      (pp. 81-90)
      Angela Mwaniki

      Vitamin A deficiency is a serious global nutritional problem that particularly affects preschool-age children. Current efforts to combat micronutrient malnutrition in the developing world focus on providing vitamin and mineral supplements for pregnant women and young children and on fortifying foods through postharvest processing. In regions with a high prevalence of poverty, inadequate infrastructure, and poorly developed markets for food processing and delivery, however, these methods have had negligible impact, and biofortification has been proposed as a more effective intervention.

      Inadequate dietary intake is the main cause of micronutrient malnutrition in Kenya. It is directly correlated with poverty. Micronutrient malnutrition...

    • Chapter Eight The Impact of Food for Education Programs in Bangladesh (3-8)
      (pp. 91-102)
      Akhter U. Ahmed and Suresh C. Babu

      Educating children can help them and their families to move out of poverty. Yet even with free tuition, the cost of attaining education remains high for poor families in developing countries owing to competing demands on children’s time and other associated costs. One way to attract children from poor households to school, and keep them in school, is to provide food as an incentive for attendance. Food for education (FFE) programs provide immediate sustenance for the hungry, but perhaps more important, they empower future generations by educating today’s children. This case study from Bangladesh provides evidence of the impact of...

    • Chapter Nine The Nutrition Transition and Obesity in China (3-9)
      (pp. 103-114)
      Fuzhi Cheng

      Before China’s economic reforms of the late 1970s, the typical Chinese diet consisted primarily of grain products and starchy roots, with few animal source foods, caloric sweeteners, or fruits and vegetables. Since the 1980s, Chinese people have experienced drastic changes in their food consumption behavior and nutritional status as a result of rapid economic development, expansion of agricultural production, globalization, urbanization, and technological improvement. These social and economic changes have helped shift the Chinese dietary structure toward increased consumption of energy-dense foods that are high in fat, particularly saturated fat, and low in carbohydrates. Dietary changes have been accompanied by...

    • Chapter Ten The Nutrition Transition in Chile (3-10)
      (pp. 115-124)
      Fernando Vio del Rio

      The nutrition transition in Chile has occurred very rapidly. In particular, obesity rates in all age groups have increased instead of decreasing, despite the goals established by the Ministry of Health (MOH) for the period 2000–2010.

      Data on the nutritional status of the Chilean population from different sources, such as the National Board for Day Care Centers (JUNJI), the National Board for School Assistance and Scholarships (JUNAEB), and the MOH, show that obesity increased significantly during the 1980s and presently constitutes the main nutritional problem of the population. In preschool children who attend day care centers belonging to JUNJI,...

    • Chapter Eleven Food Safety: The Case of Aflatoxin (3-11)
      (pp. 125-134)
      Fuzhi Cheng

      Naturally occurring toxins such as aflatoxins pose profound challenges to food safety in both developed and developing countries. The knowledge that aflatoxins can have serious effects on humans and animals has led many countries to establish regulations on aflatoxins in food and feed in the past few decades to safeguard public health, as well as the economic interests of producers and traders.

      A wide range of aflatoxin standards and corresponding regulatory requirements exist worldwide, illustrating the drastic differences in risk perceptions among different countries. In general, more stringent aflatoxins standards are found in wealthy industrialized countries with more developed market...

    • Chapter Twelve Salmonella Control in Denmark and the EU (3-12)
      (pp. 135-146)
      Tove Christensen and Lill Andersen

      Potential food safety hazards include foodborne pathogens,¹ use of antibiotics leading to resistant bacteria, chemical residuals in food products, medicine residues, growth hormones, and genetically modified organisms. The relative importance that consumers (and public authorities) place on each individual food safety issue varies noticeably across countries.² From an economic viewpoint, however, the common feature shared by these issues is that policy intervention to address them might improve social welfare. Two main arguments support the contention that public intervention is welfare improving: (1) insufficient information about the safety of different products prevents consumers from having a proper choice, and (2) food...

  6. Part Two Food Security, Consumption and Demand Policies

    • Chapter Thirteen Food Advertising Policy in the United States (4-1)
      (pp. 149-162)
      Leigh Gantner

      Marketing food to children is a complex, creative, and well-funded business in the United States. Food manufacturers are estimated to spend up to US$10 billion a year marketing foods to children, using a variety of techniques including television ads, magazine ads, Internet games, promotional packaging, give-aways, and corporate sponsorships and donations to schools. The overwhelming majority of foods marketed to children are high-calorie, highfat, and high-sugar foods, leading health experts and advocates to propose a strong link between increased food advertisements directed to children and the disturbing rise in overweight children in the United States and worldwide.

      Some advocates call...

    • Chapter Fourteen Surviving Shocks in Ethiopia: The Role of Social Protection for Food Security (4-2)
      (pp. 163-172)
      Annick Hiensch

      Ethiopia has suffered from frequent disasters such as droughts, famines, epidemics, floods, landslides, earthquakes, civil wars, and mass displacement, as well as rapid declines in major export commodity prices. The government and the international aid community can help reduce the negative effects of these shocks on food security for vulnerable populations with a social protection strategy, which can include prevention of shocks, ex ante social insurance, and ex post social assistance. Social protection helps vulnerable populations manage their risks better and helps to create the link between relief and development.

      Policy options for social assistance programs that increase food security...

    • Chapter Fifteen Niger’s Famine and the Role of Food Aid (4-3)
      (pp. 173-182)
      Alexandra C. Lewin

      Since the mid-1970s Niger has suffered from political instability and corruption. Following a 1996 coup, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund [IMF] worked with Niger to implement various structural adjustment programs, but nearly 10 years later, in 2004–2005, the country faced a food crisis. One-third of Niger’s population suffered from high levels of food insecurity and vulnerability. Yet the food crisis gained little media coverage; the government of Niger denied the country was even faced with a food crisis and continued to claim that food shortages were normal for this country.

      As the crisis progressed, Niger did receive...

    • Chapter Sixteen Zambia and Genetically Modified Food Aid (4-4)
      (pp. 183-194)
      Alexandra C. Lewin

      In 2002 the Zambian government rejected 35,000 tons of food aid because of the possibility that it could be genetically modified (GM). During this time roughly 3 million people in Zambia faced severe food shortages and extreme hunger. As the government turned away this food aid, a debate over GM food aid arose globally. The government of Zambia remains firmly against both milled and nonmilled GM food imports. Other governments throughout southern Africa have placed similar restrictions, although most will accept milled GM food aid.

      Much of southern Africa remains skeptical of GM food for a number of reasons. Some...

    • Chapter Seventeen Intrahousehold Allocation, Gender Relations, and Food Security in Developing Countries (4-5)
      (pp. 195-208)
      Agnes R. Quisumbing and Lisa C. Smith

      Many important decisions that affect development outcomes are made by households and families. What factors affect the way resources are allocated within the household? Why does the division of rights, resources, and responsibilities within the household matter for food security? This case study focuses on one dimension of the intrahousehold allocation of resources: gender. It begins with a definition of the household and discusses the factors that affect the distribution of resources within the household (including, but not limited to, gender). It then presents empirical evidence from two studies by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). The first examines...

  7. Part Three Poverty Alleviation Policies

    • Chapter Eighteen PROGRESA: An Integrated Approach to Poverty Alleviation in Mexico (5-1)
      (pp. 211-220)
      Leigh Gantner

      In 1997 the government of Mexico implemented PROGRESA [Programa de Educación, Salud, y Alimenación], an integrated approach to poverty alleviation through the development of human capital. PROGRESA was one part of a larger poverty alleviation strategy, and its role was to lay the groundwork for a healthy, well-educated population who could successfully contribute to Mexico’s economic development and break the intergenerational cycle of poverty. The program offered conditional cash transfers to the rural poor in exchange for sending their children to school and for regular attendance at health clinics and pláticas (small group sessions focusing on health and nutrition education)....

    • Chapter Nineteen Income Disparity in China and Its Policy Implications (5-2)
      (pp. 221-234)
      Fuzhi Cheng

      China’s economy has witnessed considerable achievements since economic reforms were initiated in 1978. Average overall gross domestic product (GDP) has grown approximately 9 percent annually during the past two decades. Coinciding with this rapid economic growth is a marked increase in income inequality. In recent years China has had alarmingly high income disparity levels and has become one of the countries with most unequal income distribution in the world.

      Rising income inequality is considered one of the effects of the economic reforms. The move from egalitarianism to more market-based income determination has created both winners and losers within China’s population....

    • Chapter Twenty Migration in Rural Burkina Faso (5-3)
      (pp. 235-244)
      Fleur Wouterse

      Migration plays an important role in development and as a strategy for poverty reduction. A recent World Bank investigation finds a significant positive relationship between international migration and poverty reduction at the country level (Adams and Page 2003). Burkina Faso, whose conditions for agriculture are far from favorable, has a long history of migratory movement, and migration within West Africa has long taken place in response to drought and low agricultural productivity. In recent decades, migration to destinations outside the African continent and in particular to Western Europe has become more important for migrants from Burkina Faso.

      Migration can be...

  8. Part Four Ethical Aspects of Food Systems

    • Chapter Twenty-one Food Policy and Social Movements: Reflections on the Right to Food Campaign in India (11-1)
      (pp. 247-264)
      Vivek Srinivasan and Sudha Narayanan

      The Right to Food Campaign in India began in 2001. It was a time of absurd paradox. Even as the foodgrain stocks held by the government rose to 50 million metric tons, several parts of the country were reeling from a third consecutive year of drought. The threat of severe hunger loomed large, yet efforts to address this threat were insufficient. In April 2001 the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Rajasthan, an active civil society group in the north Indian state of Rajasthan, submitted a writ petition to the Supreme Court of India. Briefly, the petition demanded that the country’s...