Food prices and how people are eating: Views from 'Life in a Time of Food Price Volatility'

Publication date

26 Aug 2014

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How do households cope with increases in food prices? How have their eating habits changed in the face of food price volatility?

These case studies form part of the second year of Oxfam–IDS research project Life in a Time of Food Price Volatility, which examines how food price volatility affects everyday life in 10 low- and middle-income countries. They examine food prices and how people are eating in five of those countries: Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Pakistan and Vietnam, providing first-hand accounts from participant households. For many, increased food prices means adjusting food consumption downwards, both in quantity and quality, which has a wider effect on wellbeing.

Three of these case studies take a broader view of food price increases in Bangladesh, Kenya and Pakistan in 2013, and show that politics and policies have a significant impact on prices. Governments can directly – for good or ill – influence the wellbeing of the poor through decisions on policy instruments such as taxation and levels of subsidies.

The research is funded by the UK Government and Irish Aid. Read the global reports from year one of the project, Squeezed, and year two, Help Yourself!