HTML Document Trends in bushmeat trade in a postconflict forest town: implications for food security

Food  insecurity and malnutrition can be major, yet often overlooked,  consequences of armed conflicts because of the disruption of rural-urban trade  networks  and human  migration  toward  safe urban  centers. Bushmeat  has been shown to act as an important safety net for conflict-affected urban populations, contributing the provisioning of basic needs and postconflict peace building efforts. However, the widely documented unsustainability of bushmeat  hunting questions whether reliance of an urban population on bushmeat  can be sustained  for prolonged  periods. To assess the potential  contribution of bushmeat  to sustainable  food systems and peace building processes in a postconflict setting in the Democratic Republic of Congo, we use bushmeat trade data from the Kisangani market  collected during three annual  surveys in 2002, 2008/2009, and 2015/2016. Overall, we found a decreasing supply of bushmeat that, combined with an increasing human population size, limited the contribution of bushmeat  to food security. Although bushmeat was the cheapest source of animal protein available in 2002, substitutes  became more affordable  over time, thereby reducing the need for bushmeat, especially among the urban poor. Finally, assessing the sustainability of bushmeat supply showed an ambiguous pattern depending  on the indicator  used, which may have been influenced by changes in the geographical  trade  routes,  possibly mediating negative effects of local resource depletion  on urban  bushmeat  supplies. This study provides insights into the contribution and the sustainability of bushmeat to urban postconflict food security. At the same time we also highlight the need for improved understanding of temporal supply/trade trajectories and especially the interaction between the sustainability of bushmeat  harvest and the availability of affordable  substitutes  for ensuring sustainable  food systems in support  of peace building processes.

Auteurs: Nathalie van Vliet, Björn Schulte-Herbrüggen, Jonas Muhindo, Casimir Nebesse, Sylvestre Gambalemoke and Robert Nasi

Release date 05/05/2020
Contributor Olivier Basa
Geographical coverage Kisangani, RD Congo
Keywords Bushmeat, Democratic Republic of Congo, food security, Kisangani, market, postconflict, sustainable food system, trade