Coping with urban food insecurity: findings from Kampala, Uganda

Johan Pottier in The Journal of Modern African Studies. Volume 53, Issue 2, June 2015.

Research carried out in two densely populated wards of Kampala in 2012 shows that food-insecure households dropped, or significantly decreased, their consumption of matoke, the plantain staple, soon after its availability declined and the market price rose. They shifted to a diet for which the base was a stiff maize porridge (posho), eating just one meal a day. Many such households were headed by grandparents, single grandmothers especially. For the full set of household heads interviewed (118), access to rural family land (kibanja) stood out as critical for achieving year-round urban food security. With few exceptions, households that farmed ‘at home’ – about half the sample – saw themselves as food secure. Access negotiations, however, could be difficult, especially for women. The growing number of grandparents responsible for raising grandchildren and nieces/nephews, many of whom were orphaned, has given rise to a new discourse whereby care is increasingly given to maternal grandchildren.

Available online via Cambridge Journals [sub required]

Image via Martha de Jong-Lantink.


Publication Type Journal Article
Publisher The Journal of Modern African Studies
Year 2015
Author(s) Johan Pottier
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