Research topic: The Politics of Food

The rise in global food prices that peaked in mid-2008 has put rising food insecurity back on the international political agenda. And according to recent estimates, the number of undernourished people in the world is currently over 1 billion.


SUM’s research primarily focuses on nuancing conceptual and methodological approaches to understanding food insecurity, malnutrition, starvation and famine with an empirical focus on Malawi, Zambia, Sudan, India, China and Bangladesh.

The four main projects related to this research topic at SUM include the following:

India’s National Food Security Bill

The study focuses on the National Food Security Bill that was recently passed in the Indian Parliament and examines whether and to what extent such legislation, based on a human rights-based approach, can make a difference to the overall food and nutritional security of those vulnerable to both chronic and acute forms of hunger in the country.

Impact of Norwegian and Chinese aid on food security in Malawi and Zambia

This project examines the experience of Norwegian and Chinese funded projects in Malawi and Zambia that aim to improve livelihoods and food security. We examine project impact on men and women’s incomes and assets, farm productivity, food security, agricultural practices and labour burdens, and the sustainability of donor interventions.

Food Safety in China

China has witnessed numerous food safety-related scandals in recent years, most notably the tainted infant milk scandal in 2008, which affected over 300,000 children. The project examines public perceptions on food safety and current food safety legislation in China with the aim of better understanding the institutional dynamics of the enforcement of food safety regulations. Accordingly, we identify barriers to implementing improved food safety standards and suggest mechanisms to better enforce accountability.

Cash transfers and food security in Malawi and India

While there is considerable amount of evidence documenting the success of Conditional Cash Transfers (CCT) in large parts of Latin America, there is less evidence on their impacts in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. This study revisits the CCT debate and undertakes a comparative study of the impact of CCTs on food security amount vulnerable households in selected districts of Malawi and India.


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Published Aug. 17, 2011 3:50 PM - Last modified June 8, 2016 10:27 AM