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Seasons of hunger: Fighting cycles of quiet starvation among the world's rural poor

seasons of hunger

By Stephen Devereux, Bapu Vaitla and Samuel Hauenstein Swan
Published by Pluto Press in association with Action Against Hunger
Website: www.plutobooks.com and www.actionagainsthunger.org.uk
2008, 148pp, ISBN 978 0 7453 2826 3(Pb), £8.99

The world food crisis of 2008 received much media coverage, but for millions of poor people extreme hunger and poor nutrition were, and still are, a 'normal' part of life. Living with low agricultural productivity without adequate access to storage facilities or finance, and facing escalating food prices and few job opportunities, families often run out of food and money before the next harvest. The authors also maintain that seasonal hunger is the "father of famine", and until seasonal hunger is prevented famines will continue.

In addition to documenting seasonal hunger in India, Malawi and Niger, Seasons of hunger suggests solutions: emergency assistance such as food and cash transfers and community-based management of acute malnutrition for those who need immediate help; measures including seasonal employment programmes, social pensions and crop insurance to prevent families falling into hunger; and initiatives to improve productivity. But, until access to food becomes a human rights and justice issue, the authors state that seasonal hunger will not end.

This highly readable and accessible book is a valuable resource for anyone interested in rural poverty and how it can be tackled.

Date published: September 2009

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