Delivering Social Protection that Nourishes: Lessons from the Food Price Crisis

The global food crisis of 2007–11 brought about lasting changes to the relationship between the work people do and the food they eat. Realtime research conducted by IDS, Oxfam and research partners in ten focus countries has found that the cost of these changes have gone uncounted. Higher food prices have led to more precarious work and changing diets, with variable developmental and nutritional impacts. Social protection policies and programmes should protect the social aspects of life – the unpaid care work of nourishing families that is mainly shouldered by women, and the non-monetary value of traditional crops and cuisines – against market uncertainties. They need to ensure a balance between the work people do and the subsistence it affords them. To help them do this, better data is needed regarding informal economies, changing food habits and how unpaid care work is being affected by women’s changing economic roles.