GEOG 1000 Lecture Notes - Food Security

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Published on 20 Apr 2013
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Famine:
Not Natural, But Political
Africa is not a landscape of famine
Causes of Famine
Popular explanations
drought
over-population? (Malthusian argument)
Lack of access to food
conflict & misrule
land distribution
poverty / lack of economic safety net
The West Sahelian Famine (19681974):
Fluctuations in rainfall
Long history of human habitation
High human death toll; ½ livestock herd gone; crops devastated
Causes? Debate
What made the Sahel vulnerable to drought?
Vulnerability = exposure to risk & ability to respond to risk
Promotion of peanut cultivation
Drought is climatic; roots of famine are social, economic, & political
Other famines:
Irish Potato Famine (1845-1852)
20-25% loss of population
“Natural” cause
Political causes
Lesson?
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