Seasonal Hunger and Public Policies: Evidence from Northwest Bangladesh

Khandker, Shahidur R. ; Mahmud, Wahiduddin

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Seasonal hunger induced by agricultural seasonality is often a characteristic feature of rural poverty. The evidence of seasonal distress in many agrarian societies can be found in the narratives of economic historians. With agricultural diversification made possible through technological breakthroughs in many parts of the developing world, the severity of seasonal stress and adversities has been reduced considerably, if not altogether eliminated. In certain agricultural settings, however, the seasonality of poverty and hunger, along with the associated seasonal shortfalls in income and consumption, is still a policy quagmire. The problem gets more complicated when agricultural seasonality is locked into a cycle of endemic poverty, seasonal hunger, and risk of further impoverishment. Poverty and seasonality may also reinforce each other through various other forces that create and sustain both. The thrust of policy needs to be to break this interlocking cycle of poverty and seasonality. The book has nine chapters. Chapter two looks at the key conceptual issues and presents a global perspective on the challenge of addressing seasonal hunger. Chapter three brings Bangladesh's reality to the fore regarding seasonal poverty and food insecurity and the vulnerability of the northwest region. Chapter four analyzes the vulnerability of households to seasonal hunger, their coping strategies, and the extent to which income seasonality affects seasonal poverty and food deprivation. Chapter five reports some findings for both the Rangpur region and the country as a whole regarding the effects of policies and programs on poverty and food deprivation. The findings reported in the next three chapters are mainly related to the Rangpur region only. Chapter six examines the issue of seasonal migration in the context of mitigating seasonal deprivation. In chapter seven, the impact of the social safety-net programs is tested, whereas the effectiveness of microfinance is assessed in chapter eight. The concluding chapter, chapter nine, looks at the policy implications while also pointing to some emerging challenges.

Document type: Book
Publisher: International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank
Place of Publication: Washington, D.C.
Date: 2012
Version: Secondary publication
Date Deposited: 26 June 2015
ISBN: 978-0-8213-9554-7
Number of Pages: 191
Faculties / Institutes: Miscellaneous > Individual person
DDC-classification: "Social services; association"
Controlled Subjects: Bangladesch <Nordwest>, Hunger, Landwirtschaft
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bangladesch, Klima, Landwirtschaft, Hunger / Bangladesh, Climate, Agriculture, Hunger
Subject (classification): Politics
Countries/Regions: Bangladesh
Additional Information: © World Bank. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO