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  1. 1
    Peer Reviewed

    [Urban-rural differences in food intake of poor families in Guatemala] Diferencias urbano-rurales en la ingesta de alimentos de familias pobres de Guatemala.

    Alarcon JA; Adrino FJ


    Differences in diet and nutrient consumption among impoverished families in urban and rural areas of Guatemala were analyzed using data from 2 surveys conducted in 1987. A sample of 200 families in the marginal community of El Milagros in Guatemala City inhabited largely by rural in-migrants and a sample of 900 families of agricultural wage workers from 195 rural communities in the northwestern altiplano participated in the nutritional study. Poverty, poor health conditions, and high rates in malnutrition among the children characterized both samples. The method of 24-hour recall in single interviews was used in both areas. The urban families were visited in July-August 1987 and the rural families in October-November. Reported consumption of foods of animal origin, milk products, eggs, and meats was over twice as high in urban areas as measured by average consumption and by the percentage of families reporting consumption Maize consumption was very high in rural but not urban areas. 97% of rural families prepared their own tortillas, tamales, and atole, and only 5% bought them prepared. In the marginal urban area by contrast, 31% of families prepared their own maize and 82% bought prepared maize derivatives primarily tortillas and tamales. Consumption of beans was higher in urban areas, largely because their cultivation is impossible in the high altitude communities of the altiplano. The average adult caloric consumption of 3194.3 in rural areas exceeded the 2637.5 of urban areas. But in both cases calorie consumption was below recommended levels. The urban total represented 86% of the daily recommendation of 3050 calories for a moderately active adult, while the rural total was equivalent to 91% of the daily recommendation of 3500 for very active adults. The average daily protein intake of 82.9 g in urban and 87.8 g in rural areas exceed the daily adult recommendation of 68 g. Almost 70% of caloric intake among rural adults came from maize, compared to 27% in urban areas. Wheat bread, beans, and sugar together accounted for 41% of total calories in urban areas. Almost 70% of protein in rural areas was contributed by maize and beans, while in urban areas over 30% was from foods of animal origin, 25% from beans, and 21% from maize. Despite their lower caloric consumption, urban families enjoyed more diversified diets and higher levels of calcium and vitamin A consumption. But vitamin A consumption met only 62% of the daily requirement in urban areas and 43% in rural areas, while iron consumption met less than 80% of the daily need in either area.
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  2. 2

    Commercialization of agriculture under population pressure: effects on production, consumption, and nutrition in Rwanda.

    von Braun J; de Haen H; Blanken J

    Washington, D.C., International Food Policy Research Institute, 1991. 123 p. (Research Report 85)

    This research reports on the effects of increased commercialization on production, household real income, family food consumption, expenditures, on nonfood goods and services, and the nutritional status of the population in Rwanda. The process by which household food consumption and nutritional status are affected by commercialization is described with emphasis on identifying the major elements and how each element is influenced by the change. The issue was whether agricultural production systems and efficient use of resources can be sustained under population pressure. The study area was the commune of Giciye in Gisenyi district in northwestern Rwanda. The area is mountainous and has very poor quality and acidic soils, with a deficiency of phosphorus. Population increase averaged 4.2%/year. There is a high prevalence of underconsumption and malnutrition. Subsistence food production is becoming increasingly more difficult. New activities include production of tea and expansion of potato production. There is beer processing from sorghum and off-farm employment. The forces driving commercialization are identified, followed by a discussion of the production and income effects of the commercialization process, the consumption relationships and effects, the consumption/nutrition/health links, and the longterm perspectives on rural development. The research design, theory, and data base are described. The conclusions were that increasing the rate of change in agricultural technology for subsistence crops would not maintain even the current levels of poverty; there must be reductions in population growth. The recommended strategy is to encourage diversification of the rural economy with specialization in both agriculture and nonagricultural products and to improve the human capital and infrastructure base. Labor productivity needs to be increased as well as employment expansion. Labor-intensive erosion control methods such as terracing are recommended as a resource investment, which are assumed to take into account women and their time constraints. Tea production which is considered a women's crop has offered off-farm employment opportunities. Consideration must be given to land tenure policy and issues of compensation for loss of land during the commercialization process. Health and sanitation measures are needed concurrently with economic development.
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  3. 3

    Third World development: perspectives.

    Venkataramanan LS

    In: Strategies for Third World development, edited by John S. Augustine. New Delhi, India, Sage Publications, 1989. 16-33.

    In spite of the many differences in developing countries, all promote policies aimed at improving resource allocations, increasing the value of public and private corporations, preparing domestic savings, locating access for market exports, and supporting investment activities. Poverty and unemployment are indigenous to rural areas in developing countries. Planners' and policymakers' objectives are to promote policies for growth, arrange exports and imports, deal with the interdependence and economic dependence in trade relations, to develop agricultural policies, alleviate poverty and unemployment, and to provide food security. Each task is discussed, e.g., growth policies must balance an appropriate mix of stabilization and structural adjustment. Growth can be accomplished through increased domestic savings, an appropriate rate of monetary growth, a stable exchange rate, and reduced budget deficits. Efficiency of investment can be increased with encouraging private domestic and foreign investment and reducing administrative controls and tax system distortions. Military spending reductions and increased investment in irrigation, drainage, and extension of public services and agricultural support make better use of public savings. Optimizing use of scarce resources of capital and foreign exchange contribute to social and economic improvement. Insulation from the fluctuations in growth trends in other countries reduces vulnerability. Self-reliance is promoted. In coping with inequalities in income distribution, poverty, and unemployment, developing counties have focused on growth in gross national product (GNP). Production and investment need to be reorganized in order to have a wider effect on income distribution and achieve social justice. Employment must be increased for neutral personal tax-subsidy schemes to work. Production planning targeted to the rural poor and geared to consumption planning can help to alleviate hunger and poverty. In balancing production, consumption, and employment, it is important to consider that increasing the level of employment beyond free market equilibrium requires a certain level of subsidy, and increasing the level of distributive consumption may led to lower investment for future growth and employment.
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  4. 4

    Report of the ESCAP/UNDP Expert Group Meeting on Population, Environment and Sustainable Development: 13-18 May 1991, Jomtien, Thailand.

    United Nations. Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific [ESCAP]

    Bangkok, Thailand, United Nations, Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific [ESCAP], 1991. iv, 41 p. (Asian Population Studies Series No. 106)

    The 1991 meeting of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific considered the following topics: the interrelationships between population and natural resources, between population and the environment and poverty, and between population growth and consumption patterns, technological changes and sustainable development; the social aspects of the population-environment nexus (the effect of social norms and cultural practices); public awareness and community participation in population and environmental issues; and integration of population, environment, and development policies. The organization of the meeting is indicated. Recommendations were made. The papers on land, water, and air were devoted to a potential analytical model and the nature of the interlocking relationship between population, environment, and development. Dynamic balance was critical. 1 paper was presented on population growth and distribution, agricultural production and rural poverty; the practice of a simpler life style was the future challenge of the world. Several papers focused on urbanization trends and distribution and urban management policies. Only 1 paper discussed rural-urban income and consumption inequality and the consequences; some evidence suggests that increased income and equity is associated with improved resource management. Carrying capacity was an issue. The technological change paper reported that current technology contributed to overproduction and overconsumption and was environmentally unfriendly. The social norms paper referred to economic conditions that turned people away from sound environmental, cultural norms and practices. A concept paper emphasized women's contribution to humanism which goes beyond feminism; another presented an analytical summary of problems. 2 papers on public awareness pointed out the failures and the Indonesian experience with media. 1 paper provided a perspective on policy and 2 on the methodology of integration. The recommendations provided broad goals and specific objectives, a holistic and conceptual framework for research, information support, policies, resources for integration, and implementation arrangements. All activities must be guided by 1) unity of mankind, 2) harmony between population and natural resources, and 3) improvement in the human condition.
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  5. 5

    [Brazil: agricultural modernisation and food production restructuring in the international crisis] Bresil: modernisation agricole et restructuration alimentaire dans la crise internationale.

    Bertrand JP

    Tiers-Monde. 1985 Oct-Dec; 26(104):879-98.

    This study examines the complex relationship of capital accumulation, external debt, and food supply in Brazil, a country which has simultaneously increased its food exports and its unsatisfied demand for food imports in the context of the world economic crisis. In Brazil, the substitution of export cash crops for subsistence crops has been accompanied by a profound but incomplete restructuring of the basic food supply and model of consumption, a restructuring made possible by declining real cost of the new foods. The gap between the extremely rapid evolution of consumption, especially in the urban areas, and the possibilities of concomitant transformation of production is the characteristic feature of the change occuring in Brazil. The current diet of the developed countries evolved over a relatively long period and was based on the declining real cost of basic foodstuffs made possible by increasing labor productivity. Between 1800-1900, the real cost of a kilo of bread was halved, while that of meat remained stable. In France and the US respectively, 80 and 90% of the principal cereals are consumed by animals, while in developing countries most grains are directly consumed. Numerous indices suggest that Brazil has begun to differentiate its food regime in the direction of decreased consumption of cereals, tubers, and legumes, and increased consumption of animal products, with grains increasingly consumed indirectly by animals. Since the early 1970s, Brazil has developed a powerful processed food industry which supports intensive breeding of poultry and, to a lesser extent, pork and milk cattle. However, low income population groups have been forced to reduce their consumption of traditional foodstuffs, whose real prices have undergone relative increases, without achieving a satisfactory level of consumption of the new products. Brazilian food problems result not from insufficient production of food but from the choice of a strongly internationalist model of development in the mid-1960s which required insertion into the world economy, notably through a search for new export sectors. The agricultural sector was assigned 3 functions: producing food as cheaply as possible, increasing the proportion of exportable crops, and substituting some of the foods imported. Brazil evolved in 2 decades from a classic agroexporter to a more complex structure reflecting the semiindustrialized state of the economy. The share of processed agricultural goods increased accordingly. The foods produced for the internal market have been changing at the same time that a new hierarchy of exportable products has evolved. Agricultural policy involved recourse to market mechanisms and cheap credit focused on the south and southeastern regions, large and medium sized producers, and a few products including soy, coffee, sugar cane, and cotton. Just 3% of credits went to the traditional foodstuffs beans and manioc. The most serious consequence of the internationalization of the agricultural economy has been a dangerous increase in the vulnerability of low income groups to world food price fluctuations.
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  6. 6

    Food policy issues in low-income countries.

    Chambers R; Clay EJ; Lipton M; Singer HW

    Washington, D.C., World Bank, 1981. vii, 115 p. (World Bank staff working paper, no. 473)

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  7. 7

    Development and the elimination of poverty

    Keyfitz N

    Economic Development and Cultural Change. 1982 Apr; 30(3):649-70.

    This essay argues that the drive toward a middle class style of life in developing countries has resulted over the past 30-odd years of conscious development effort in a series of negative consequences in diverse spheres: persistence of inequality, expansion of government, neglect of agriculture, and urban bias of education and research. The class context of development, the role of the middle class, the characteristics and components of the middle class life style, and the American contribution to its development are assessed, after which the methodology and results of measuring the poor and the middle class in the US and elsewhere are considered. Measurement of the middle class can be attempted through ownership of articles such as automobiles, through energy consumption, or through income: one estimate is that the global middle class increased from 200 million in 1950 to 800 million by 1980 through the addition of Japan, Europe, and some increase in the 3rd world. The nature of middle class work and the consequences of the preference for middle class work on the part of national elites for local development efforts is described, along with the related theme of the conflict between alleviation of poverty and development of an indigenous middle class in 3rd world countries. China and Brazil are viewed as the 2 extremes in this trade-off. The incentives to massive urban migration that occur in conjunction with development policies favoring the middle class are outlined. Finally, it is argued that reaching for middle class status is an explanatory rather than a policy variable. The social mechanisms that cause the spread of the middle class to take precedence over the alleviation of poverty need to be more closely examined.
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