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Self-reported food insecurity in Africa during the food price crisis

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  • Verpoorten, Marijke
  • Arora, Abhimanyu
  • Stoop, Nik
  • Swinnen, Johan

Abstract

This article analyzes data on self-reported food insecurity of more than 50,000 individuals in 18 Sub-Saharan African countries over the period 2005–2008, when global food prices increased dramatically. The average level of self-reported food insecurity was high but remarkably stable over time, at about 54%. However, this average hides large heterogeneity, both within countries and across countries. In eight of the sample countries, self-reported food security improved, while it worsened in the ten other countries. Our results suggest that heterogeneous effects in self-reported food security are consistent with economic predictions, as they are correlated with economic growth and net food consumption (both at the household and country level). Specifically, in the face of rising food prices, self-reported food security improved on average in rural households, while it worsened in urban households – a finding that holds when using global prices or domestic food prices. Improvements in food security over time were also positively correlated with net food exports and GDP per capita growth. While the self-reported indicator used in this paper requires further study and one should carefully interpret the results, our findings suggest the need for a critical evaluation of the currently used data and numbers in the public debate on food prices and food insecurity.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Food Policy.

Volume (Year): 39 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 51-63

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:39:y:2013:i:c:p:51-63

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/foodpol

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Keywords: Food policy; Food insecurity measurement; Sub-Saharan Africa; Food crisis;

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Cited by:
  1. Ivanic, Maros & Martin, Will & Zaman, Hassan, 2012. "Estimating the Short-Run Poverty Impacts of the 2010–11 Surge in Food Prices," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(11), pages 2302-2317.
  2. Ralitza Dimova & Monnet Gbakou, 2012. "A right price for rice? Côte d’Ivoire insights into the welfare implications of the ‘global food crisis’," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series 17212, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
  3. Stein, Alexander J., 2013. "Rethinking the measurement of undernutrition in a broader health context: Should we look at possible causes or actual effects:," IFPRI discussion papers 1298, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  4. Derek D. Headey, 2013. "The Impact of the Global Food Crisis on Self-Assessed Food Security," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 27(1), pages 1-27.
  5. Headey, Derek D., 2014. "Food prices and poverty reduction in the long run:," IFPRI discussion papers 1331, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  6. Lauren Q. Sneyd, 2013. "Wild Food, Prices, Diets and Development: Sustainability and Food Security in Urban Cameroon," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(11), pages 4728-4759, November.
  7. Martha Negash & Jo Swinnen, 2012. "Biofuels and Food Security: Micro-evidence from Ethiopia," LICOS Discussion Papers 31912, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
  8. Sonia, Akter & Syed Abul, Basher, 2013. "The impacts of the global food and financial crises on household food security and economic well-being: evidence from Bangladesh," MPRA Paper 47859, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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