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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'When we have nothing we all eat grass': debt, donor dependence and the food crisis in Malawi, 2001 to 2003
Author:Attwell, William
Periodical:Journal of Contemporary African Studies (ISSN 0258-9001)
Geographic term:Malawi
Subjects:food shortage
economic aid
economic dependence
international economic relations
government policy
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02589001.2013.839225
Abstract:In 2002, Malawi faced a devastating food crisis, an event in which hundreds of people died of hunger, while over a thousand succumbed to a country-wide cholera epidemic. By June of that year, over 3.2 million people needed emergency food aid, one-third of Malawi's population. This article assesses the crisis through the lens of donor-government relations. Beginning with the restructuring of the agricultural sector under a World Bank-sponsored structural adjustment program, a process that discouraged food production by small-holder farmers, the article explains how the Malawian government's reliance on external sources of funding, and its deteriorating relations with key international creditors, rendered it impotent in the face of the oncoming crisis. While accepting Amartya Sen's basic entitlements framework, the 2002 crisis was one of pricing and access rather than absolute shortages of food, the article posits the following theoretical argument: in the context of highly indebted poor countries, it is a government's relationship with its principal donors and creditors that determines the outcome of food crises by shaping the policy responses available both leading up to and during the event. Bibliogr., notes, sum. [Journal abstract]