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Property rights, food security and child growth: dynamics of insecurity in the Kafue Flats of Zambia


Merten, Sonja; Haller, Tobias (2008). Property rights, food security and child growth: dynamics of insecurity in the Kafue Flats of Zambia. Food Policy, 33(5):434-443.

Abstract

This paper provides arguments for discussions of the role of property rights for food security and child nutrition in rural Africa. The results are drawn from a case study in the Kafue Flats of Zambia. They show that unclear jurisdictional boundaries and weak authorities facilitated re-negotiations of property rights related to natural resources in the context of the Southern African food crisis 2002–2003. Access to natural resources was skewed towards the more powerful. On average, food intake was temporarily 50% lower than the annual mean, compared to a less than 10% decrease in the lean season 2003–2004. Large inequalities existed between different clusters of villages, according to the history of immigration and ethnicity. Yet the variability was greatest within villages. Households, which reported increasing difficulties with access to natural resources, had less diversified income-generating activities, lower food intake and more children showing impaired growth. Discussions addressing the growing disparities in rural areas should focus on a realistic implementation and enforcement of property rights in context of situated local power-relations, next to the harmonization of different tenure systems related to natural resources.

This paper provides arguments for discussions of the role of property rights for food security and child nutrition in rural Africa. The results are drawn from a case study in the Kafue Flats of Zambia. They show that unclear jurisdictional boundaries and weak authorities facilitated re-negotiations of property rights related to natural resources in the context of the Southern African food crisis 2002–2003. Access to natural resources was skewed towards the more powerful. On average, food intake was temporarily 50% lower than the annual mean, compared to a less than 10% decrease in the lean season 2003–2004. Large inequalities existed between different clusters of villages, according to the history of immigration and ethnicity. Yet the variability was greatest within villages. Households, which reported increasing difficulties with access to natural resources, had less diversified income-generating activities, lower food intake and more children showing impaired growth. Discussions addressing the growing disparities in rural areas should focus on a realistic implementation and enforcement of property rights in context of situated local power-relations, next to the harmonization of different tenure systems related to natural resources.

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7 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:790 Sports, games & entertainment
390 Customs, etiquette & folklore
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Language:English
Date:2008
Deposited On:05 Mar 2009 14:47
Last Modified:04 May 2016 07:49
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0306-9192
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodpol.2008.01.004
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-14611

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