Frugality and cross-sectoral policymaking for food security

Author(s): Saradindu Bhaduri, Kinsuk Mani Sinha, Peter Knorringa
Publication date: March 2018
Title: Frugality and cross-sectoral policymaking for food security
Cite this article as: S. Bhaduri, K.M. Mani & P. Knorringa (2018). Frugality and cross-sectoral policymaking for food security. Njas-Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences, 84, 72-79. doi: 10.1016/j.njas.2017.08.002
Keywords: Frugality, Sustainable rural livelihood, Grassroots innovation, Food security policy

The growing concerns about food security, especially in the disadvantaged regions of the world, often point out the inadequacies of strictly sectoral approaches to addressing the problems of agriculture. Such policy approaches coincided with the rise of a global, top-down, formal, science-driven development of agriculture. Over time, such interventions have drawn criticism from multiple corners as inadequately addressing the need for local variation in institutional contexts. The objective of this paper is to adopt a bottom-up perspective to address the need for cross-sectorality in food security policies. Sustainable Rural Livelihood (SRL) and Grassroots Innovation (GI) are two well recognized schools of thought which emphasize the cross-sectoral approaches to livelihood and local level problem-solving. By embracing a frugality lens, we can offer a conceptual regularity in the patterns of behaviour and decision-making highlighted by the SRL and GI schools of thought. Taking a step further, the frugality lens, by focusing on the usefulness of a decision in the actualenvironment, emphasizes the need to diagnose local institutions better. Note, however, that the contention of the current paper is not to posit ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ as two competing paradigms. It only argues that a frugality lens helps us to better appreciate the strengths of a bottom-up approach for effective policy formulation, an appreciation of which would promote a dignified marriage between the two perspectives.

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