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Geography and Causes of Food Insecurity in Developing Countries (The)

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  • Smith, Lisa C.
  • Elobeid, Amani
  • Jensen, Helen H.
  • Johnson, Stanley R.

Abstract

At the 1996 World Food Summit, 186 countries made a commitment to reduce the number of chronically undernourished people by half by 2015. In order to formulate effective policies for reaching this goal, a thorough understanding of the location and causes of food insecurity is needed. This paper provides a broad overview of the current character of food insecurity in developing countries, focusing on two questions: (1) Why are they food insecure? and (2) Why are the food insecure? To answer the latter question data from 58 developing countries with high prevalences of food insecurity are employed to examine the relative importance of two of food insecurityï¾’s most basic causes: national food availability and the inability of people to access food due to poverty. Using child malnutrition as a proxy (along with descriptive controls for non-food determinants of malnutrition), the paper finds little correlation between national food availabilities and food insecurity. The group of countries that exhibit the highest severity of food insecurity are those with high poverty and food (dietary energy) surpluses, consistent with the view that poverty is the most widespread cause of food insecurity in the 1990s. The paper concludes by considering the implications of the analysis for appropriate geographical and policy targeting to improve food security for the greatest numbers of people at the fastest pace, now and into the 21st century.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Iowa State University, Department of Economics in its series Staff General Research Papers with number 1651.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 1999
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Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:1651

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Postal: Iowa State University, Dept. of Economics, 260 Heady Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1070
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Web page: http://www.econ.iastate.edu
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Cited by:
  1. Grace, Kathryn & Brown, Molly & McNally, Amy, 2014. "Examining the link between food prices and food insecurity: A multi-level analysis of maize price and birthweight in Kenya," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 56-65.
  2. Smith, Lisa C. & Haddad, Lawrence James, 2000. "Overcoming child malnutrition in developing countries: past achievements and future choices," 2020 vision discussion papers 30, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  3. Romer Lovendal, Christian & Knowles, Marco, 2006. "Tomorrow's Hunger: A Framework for Analysing Vulnerability to Food Security," Working Paper Series RP2006/119, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  4. Azzarri, Carlo & Zezza, Alberto, 2011. "International migration and nutritional outcomes in Tajikistan," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 54-70, February.
  5. Wieck, Christine & Rudloff, Bettina & Heucher, Angela, 2014. "Agri-investments and public spending in selected vulnerable countries – will they contribute to reduce food insecurity?," Discussion Papers 163043, University of Bonn, Institute for Food and Resource Economics.
  6. Ecker, Olivier & Weinberger, Katinka & Qaim, Matin, 2010. "Patterns and determinants of dietary micronutrient deficiencies in rural areas of East Africa," Journal of Cooperatives, NCERA-210, vol. 4(2), June.
  7. Smith, Lisa C. & Haddad, Lawrence James, 2000. "Explaining child malnutrition in developing countries: a cross-country analysis," Research reports 111, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  8. Saravia-Matus, Silvia L. & Gomez y Paloma, Sergio & Mary, Sebastien, 2012. "Economics of Food Security: Selected Issues," Bio-based and Applied Economics Journal, Italian Association of Agricultural and Applied Economics (AIEAA), issue 1, April.
  9. Smith, Lisa Catherine & Haddad, Lawrence, 2001. "How important is improving food availability for reducing child malnutrition in developing countries?," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 26(3), pages 191-204, December.
  10. Kuku, Oluyemisi & Gundersen, Craig & Garasky, Steven, 2011. "Differences in food insecurity between adults and children in Zimbabwe," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 311-317, April.
  11. Wichelns, Dennis, 2001. "The role of `virtual water' in efforts to achieve food security and other national goals, with an example from Egypt," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 131-151, July.
  12. Yang, Hong & Zehnder, Alexander J. B., 2002. "Water Scarcity and Food Import: A Case Study for Southern Mediterranean Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(8), pages 1413-1430, August.
  13. Smith, Lisa C. & Haddad, Lawrence James, 1999. "Explaining child malnutrition in developing countries," FCND discussion papers 60, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  14. Munir Ahmad & Umar Farooq, 2010. "The State of Food Security in Pakistan: Future Challenges and Coping Strategies," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 49(4), pages 903–923.

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