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Education for Rural People: A Neglected Key To Food Security

  • Pasquale De Muro
  • Francesco Burchi

In the world there are approximately 800 million people who live in condition of food insecurity and illiteracy. This paper shows that education is a key to food security for rural populations in developing countries. Attention is drawn to rural areas because they are traditionally more disadvantaged by national educational policies. The theoretical foundation of this research is that being educated improves rural people’s capacity to diversify assets and activities, increase productivity and income, foster resilience and competitiveness, access information on health and sanitation, strengthen social cohesion and participation: these are all essential elements to ensure food security in the long run. The main findings of this research are the following: first, the association between food insecurity and primary education is very high, while it decreases progressively with basic, secondary, and tertiary education. Such a two-way relationship is expressed through graphical tools and correlation coefficients. Second, the econometric model shows that primary education is a crucial element to reduce food insecurity in rural areas, even when compared to other factors such as access to water, health, and sanitation. Concluding from this model, an increase of access to primary education by 100% causes a decrease of food insecurity by approximately 20% or 24% depending on the definition of food insecurity and its measurement. Finally, since in most of developing countries the majority of people live in rural areas, and since it is in these areas that the largest proportion of world poverty and hunger exists, we can conclude that education for rural people is a relevant tool for promoting overall national food security.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics - University Roma Tre in its series Departmental Working Papers of Economics - University 'Roma Tre' with number 0078.

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Length: 46
Date of creation: Jul 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rtr:wpaper:0078
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  1. Maxwell, Simon, 1996. "Food security: a post-modern perspective," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 155-170, May.
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