1. bookVolume 10 (2021): Issue 1 (July 2021)
Journal Details
First Published
05 Sep 2013
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
access type Open Access

The Impacts of Food Taboos and Preferences on Food Security in Developing Countries: Evidence from Ethiopia

Published Online: 05 Aug 2021
Page range: 1 - 11
Journal Details
First Published
05 Sep 2013
Publication timeframe
2 times per year

Food norms are embodied within all the essential components of food security; availability, access, utilization, and stability. However, the adverse economic influences of these norms are largely under–researched in developing countries. Unique in its scoop, this study thus investigates the impacts of food taboos and preferences (FTP) on food security in Ethiopia, one of the world’s food–insecure nations combined with a culture of strict food norms. On the basis of a qualitative research design with semi–structured in–depth interviews, primary data was collected from eleven key informants of pertinent multidisciplinary backgrounds, experts and decision–makers. The empirical evidence revealed that religious and secular– based FTP have put significant restrictions on the efficient utilization of the existing edible resources in the country. For example, during Orthodox Christian (OC) and Muslim fasting days, the overall food supply chain undergoes economic turbulence. Particularly, the economic challenge of OC fasting is expressed by (1) a decrease in consumption and supply of non–vegan foods, (2) the temporary closure of butcher and dairy shops, (3) an increase in the demand and price of vegan foods, and (4) an overall reduction in consumption and economic transactions. Moreover, the tradition of animal consecration at home has made many Ethiopians to rarely depend on supermarkets, groceries, and other licensed meat shops. In turn, this impedes the country’s endeavor of attracting local and foreign private investors in the general food sector. It also alienates people from access to food labels, meat quality controls, price, size, and choice advantages, all of which are essential for better, adaptive, and stable food utilization. The results discovered in this thesis enrich our understanding on the role of food norms in the economic systems. Particularly, the study sheds light on the indispensable need to consider the subject of FTP in policies and programs aiming to end food insecurity.


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