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Food Security In The Brazilian Amazon Floodplain

Congress: 2015
Author(s): Oriana ALMEIDA, Sergio Rivero, Natalia Hanazaki, Carlos Mariano Alves-Vales, Shaji Thomas, Marta Coutinho Caetano

Keyword(s): Sub-theme 6: Links with the energy, food and environmental sectors,
AbstractIntroduction Diversification has been defined as a process structured by the household that practices several activities as a strategy to maintain food security and increase income (Ellis 1998). Diversity has not always shown homogeneous and uniform results. There are studies that show that diversity is a deliberated strategy while other show that is an involuntary response of the household. Also, diversity, does not show impact on inequality but the majority of the studies shows that diversification increase income (Abdulai et al. 2001) and reduces risks and that it is a strategy to minimize variability of income (Alderman et al. 1992). The increase of income is also associated with high number of member per family (Rahut et al. 2012). Several reasons can be enumerated also as barriers that restrain families not to diversify such as lack of capital or living in remote area. The Amazon estuary comprises an extensive area of ​​lowland forests with daily variation of the flood tide and it is one of the most densely occupied regions of the Amazon basin. This region is characterized by a traditional population from which many live below the poverty line and it is a area that many families use diversity of activities as a strategy to reduce risk and poverty (Alderman et al. 1992, Olalea et al. 2013, Abdulai et al. 2001, Ellis 2000). The present study had the objective to study the diversity and food security in Amazon communities. Methods The study area was located in 4 rural communities of the Amazon Estuary, in Abaetetuba County, near the major city of Belém, capital of Pará state in Brazil, where 195 interviews were carried out with households. The chosen communities presented different intensities and diversity of activities. The questionnaire was adapted from the one used by Hanazakiet al. (2013) that studied food security for the fisher population in the southwest region of Brazil. Results and discussion Results showed that the main means of livelihood in the estuary area are the extraction of açaí (Euterpe oleracea) (77%), the extraction of buriti (Mauritia flexuosa), and fishing (73% shrimp and 66% fish). These activities are also the principal means of food security in the studied communities. In recent years, acaí extraction has gained importance due to the expansion of national and regional market and rising of fruit prices. For the estuary population, agriculture has reduced importance given it is practiced by only a land-owning minority as the region is flooded twice a day due to the tide regime and agriculture has became a risk activity. Fish is very important for the families as 64% of them consume fish from one to three times per week and 34% consume almost every day. When the family does not consume fish, 66% consume either meat, chicken or canned meat and 34% consumes small animals such as chicken or pork. When they have shortage of food obtained locally there is a small group that cannot buy other food (1%) and that received food from friends, neighbor or relatives (3%). Diversification of economic activities and livelihoods is a key feature of many rural populations around the world and in the estuary, and contributes to the resilience of these populations towards such changes. The diversification of livelihoods can also contribute to local food security, which relies also on external sources of food and means to buy food. Abdulai, Awudu and CroleRees, Anna. 2001. Determinants of income diversification amongst rural households in Southern Mali, Food Policy 26, 437–452 Abdulai, Awudu and CroleRees, Anna. (2001) Determinants of income diversification amongst rural households in Southern Mali, Food Policy 26, 437–452 Alderman, H., Paxson, C.H., 1992. Do the poor insure? A synthesis of the literature on risk and consump- tion in developing countries. Policy Research Working Papers, WPS 1008. The World Bank, October. Ellis, F. 2000. Rural Livelihoods and Diversity in Developing Countries. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hanazaki N.; Berkes F.; Seixas C. S. E Peroni N. 2012. Livelihood Diversity, Food Security and Resilienceamong the Caiçara of Coastal Brazil.Hum Ecol (2013) 41:153–164. Olalea, Edward e Hensonb, Spencer.2013.The impact of income diversification among fishing communities in Western Kenya, Volume 43, Pages 90–99 Rahut, B. and Scharf, M. 2012. Livelihood diversification strategies in the Himalayas. The Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 56, pp. 558–582
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