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Re: What is the role of social relations and networks in household food security and nutrition?

UGAgri Group7 University of Guyana, Guyana
24.10.2013
UGAgri

On the eroding social interactions between members of society and the impact of this on food security, we had a group member, Liza, who is a migrant to the city from the rural island of Wakenaam speak about her experience. Here’s what our born and bred city dweller, Tonnica, says about her experiences living in a city with relatives not so close by, as they relate to food security. She claims her family’s food security comes out of the frozen food aisles of the nearby supermarket and the two big markets in town.

“In Georgetown, the capital city of Guyana where I reside it’s ‘every man on his own.’ The relations generally doesn’t go beyond mere associates where no particular tangible benefits are reaped especially where food security and nutrition is concerned. With very minimal to no amount of farming done is this city, everything consumed is purchased from the supermarket mostly and to a lesser extent from the public markets (Stabroek, Bourda). Since food is purchased across the board in Georgetown, there’s hardly any excess food that can be afforded to another individual or family in need.”

Finally, our group member, Shermain talks about the links between her and her community, which is part of a town, Linden. These relations sustain despite the quasi-urban feel of Linden, perhaps because of the tradition of maintaining these relationships between families and friends in the community. Or maybe, it’s become necessary to upkeep them in the face of the looming threat to the food security of the region. This is what she says:

“I'm from Linden, where everybody knows each other and has established a close relation with one another.  I'm able to share the eddo-leaf and coconut that are found in my backyard with my family, friends and neighbours, and they are able to share what is grown in their yard so as to ensure that a daily meal is provided.  Nearly all the homes in Linden have some type of crop or fruit growing in the yard.  These crops and fruits are grown with organic manure and prepared in order to give us a well-balanced diet. Some days I can afford not to cook, since I can call on someone for a plate of food and on some days we all come together and make what is known as a "bush cook".  On anyone of my family member’s birthday, the household would usually cook, package and send food around to individuals.  In doing this, we are able to maintain food security and nutrition within the community.  This relation that we share is also extended to individuals who migrate from Linden to Georgetown for various reasons such as education.  In my family scenario, when I'm leaving Linden to head to Georgetown for classes, my mom would usually prepare meals for me to walk with and sometimes even send groceries for the week.  Despite changes in Linden with respect to growth in population, our social relations and networks have remained the same which is the most important aspect of our survival.”