Horticultural exports – a threat or a boost to food security?
This article (PDF) in Rural21 Journal assesses the impact of horticultural exports on food security in the exporting country. Horticultural produce is mostly destined for high-income countries and it contributes to food intake there, however it is unclear what their food security consequences are in the countries of origin. Many countries that have become important suppliers of horticulture produce to the world market – such as Kenya, Ethiopia, Peru and India – have high rates of poverty and food insecurity within their borders, and especially so in rural areas. In this article, a variety of direct and indirect effects of horticultural exports on food security in these exporting countries are discussed. Four components of food security are considered: food availability, food access, food utilisation and stability. The authors conclude that there is very little evidence on the impact of horticultural export growth on food security. The discussion on the various impact pathways shows that horticultural exports do not necessarily jeopardise food security and may actually contribute to improved availability, access, and utilisation of food. Especially the development of rural labour markets and participation of women in wage employment in horticultural companies may lead to improved food security. Newly created employment opportunities for women in export companies lead to a higher share of income controlled by women, which might improve households’ food access. Yet, for stability in food security, important challenges remain, such as the provision of secure employment at remunerative conditions by export companies and the sustainable use of water resources.