In times of supermarket monotony - when the shelves are stacked with the same food throughout the year - we can easily become detached from the role of the seasons on our food. And by extension, upon the farms and farmers that produce it. In developing countries, the effect of the seasons is particularly acute - as it is unbuffered by greenhouses and other agricultural wizardry. As such, development policy makers need to be more mindful of seasonality;
…rural livelihoods in developing countries undergo regular, predictable, and often massive, changes according to the pattern of the seasons. In particular, the annual rains bring about – or bring to a peak – all sorts of effects – most of them adverse if you are poor. These include starvation, energy depletion, increases in sickness, migration, shortage of money and going into debt.
It was a regular theme in development studies from the late 1970s. Then it rather fell from favour.
Understanding and building seasonality into policies is still relevant – in fact maybe more relevant than ever as climate change bites. And that still isn’t happening; disaggregated data on seasonal poverty is still hard to find, and one of their recommendations is that poverty statistics should reflect seasonal variation, instead of reporting a single poverty headcount for a given year.
(p.s. seasonality chart from Leon: Ingredients and Recipes. Full of wonderful food design and ideas)