The impact of high food prices on food security in Cambodia

Food prices in Cambodia increased by 36.8 per cent between July 2007 and July 2008. High food prices negatively affected people from all walks of life, but the extent of the impact varied. The poorest 40 per cent of the population spend 70 per cent of their incomes on food. The poor and net food buyers, who generally live in rural areas, were hit worst by these rising prices. Most of the food-insecure households are in the Tonle Sap and plains regions. For the very poor, both urban and rural, obtaining sufficient food is a daily struggle. About 50 per cent of surveyed households reported cutting back on food. Many went into debt. Food aid or ‘food for work’ should be the best solutions to meet short-term needs. Social safety nets based on food assistance should be introduced in order to avoid increased malnutrition and negative coping strategies used by food-insecure households.