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

Concern 3 University of Guyana, Guyana


Concern: concern embodies the sentiments of an assembly of students of the University of Guyana committed to sharing ideas on how we can improve food security across time horizons for our peoples. The dynamism of this topic (Food Security) will see us drawing lessons from many sources and fields of taught. Emphasis of our contributions will focus on developing countries as the core of our ideas. Food Security is an important subject!             

Concern” contributions will reflect the views of each student as far as possible.

The question of how food can be secure across time horizons in developing countries is full of challenges to leaders. Nothing is static in real terms. The dynamics of change demand actions to improve nutrition to all people especially the poor. The identification of social relationships by Ms E. Omosa in the rural setting recognizes what sociologists refer to as “community spirit” which was most forceful in earlier times.

As an urban dweller evidence of how the market system has eroded social relationships is everywhere. Everything has a market price. Attitudes and behavior of urban residents reflect self interest and aggression toward those in need. Shift from community spirit to a competitive posture has taken hold. Waibel and Schmidt[1] (2000) argued for a more active role for cities in securing food. However, this is through the market. Given the commercialization of food production much of the social relations of “old times” are continuously neutralized or squeeze. However, this outcome provides for new types of relationships.

Urban setting is dominated by numerous types of groups. Community food clubs can be a vibrant mechanism used to disseminate food and information on the accessibility of cheap and free food. This sort of information can be valuable particularly to the urban poor. Arrangements of this nature need to be flexible and effective in getting across information in a timely manner. How information is collected can take many forms; to illustrate; an established member in the community or someone with connections to farmers’ associations or cooperatives could be used. State intervention can be used to provision of information and the setting up of sites where the same can be obtained. The fact that in urban settings people are bonded together by other factors than kinship is an opportunity. In Guyana, many new schemes and enclosed communities are popping up around it main city. Events such as community days or village days are ripe with potential for food sharing.

In conclusion, clubs, societies, village days are among potential avenues through which social relationships can be used to secure food. In a sense, these mediums are free of the barriers that would other exist. They also work as effective mediums to partially neutralize the impact of the market system. Hence, we can secure food in urban areas by forming new settings to accommodate for changing social relationships.                   

[1] Feeding Asian Cities: Food Production and Processing Issues Abstract

By Hermann Waibel and Erich Schmidt