|Urban Livelihoods and Food and Nutrition Security in Greater Accra, Ghana - Research Report 112 - Abstract (IFPRI, 2000, 4 p.)|
Ghanas economic crisis and structural adjustment have adversely affected several urban groups. Four groups in particular are vulnerable: (1) low-income urban wage earners, who have seen their wages drop and their ability to earn a second income from self-employment constrained by high inflation, lack of access to credit, and a sometimes hostile regulatory environment; (2) the indigenous Ga population, who are vulnerable because of the decline of their traditional livelihoods; (3) the new urban poor - those who lost their jobs in civil service; and finally, (4) households headed by single women, whose incomes tend to be very low.
The report finds that households cope with financial shortfalls in a variety of ways. When there is not enough money to purchase food for all household members, cheaper foods may be substituted for more preferred foods or the amount of money allotted per person for the purchase of street foods may be rationed. The purchase of street foods is in itself a coping strategy, even though the calories purchased are more expensive. Poor households may find it easier to come up with a few cedis per person to purchase food from street vendors than to buy all of the ingredients needed to prepare a dish at home. Mothers also cope by limiting their own food intake to ensure that children have enough to eat. Finally, people borrow money from friends or relatives to buy food.
Within neighborhoods, the food security and health status of households varied greatly. This finding is important because it means that variation in income, health, and nutrition outcomes in Accra is at the individual and household levels, not at the community level, so strategies targeted by neighborhoods are unlikely to be effective.