Rao 1a the basic concept and dimensions of food security
FOOD SECURITY Concepts, Basic Facts,and Measurement Issues June 26 to July 7, 2006 Dhaka, Bangladesh
Rao 1a: The Basic Concept and Dimensions of Food SecurityLearning: While distinguishing alternative concepts of FSand the basic and cross-cutting dimensions of FS, thelearning goal is to achieve clarity and understanding ofthese basic concepts. Trainees will have developed readyfamiliarity in employing these concepts.
Brief Contents• definition and meaning of food security (FS)• food insecurity (FIS) distinguished from hunger, under-nourishment, malnourishment and hidden hunger and their inter-relations spelt out• the main dimensions of FS defined and clarified• poverty and FS: correlation and divergence• the cross-cutting dimensions of FS• FS at different levels & access within households• dietary intake
What is Food Security?• FAO (2008): Food security (is) a situation that exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy lifeFood security [FS] prevails if both food supply and demand are sufficient to cover food requirements on a continuous and stable basisFood insecurity prevails if, at any time (occasionally, repeatedly, or permanently), food supply and/or demand fall short of requirements
Food Insecurity and Hunger,Undernourishment, and Malnourishment• Hunger: subjective feeling of food deprivation over very short or long periods• Undernourishment: <90% of minimum caloric intake• Malnourishment: nutritional imbalance (lack of specific dietary components)
Inter-Relations• Hunger can be felt over short time periods while being well/under-nourished is a longer-term variable. One may be undernourished but not feel hungry, and vice versa.• Much undernourishment occurs at early stages of life – the resulting disabilities can persist later even when a person is well-fed (undernourishment without hunger)• A well-nourished person may suffer short bouts of hunger (hunger without undernourishment).• But hunger & undernourishment are highly correlated, and both are highly correlated with absolute poverty.• Neither hunger nor poverty is quite as strongly correlated with malnutrition as with under-nutrition.
Inter-Relations… [contd.]• Since food insecurity is defined as demand or supply deficit relative to requirements at any time, it includes ideas of hunger (which can be occasional or endemic) as well as undernourishment (which can be in the past or ongoing present, and be one-shot, or repeated and permanent as is true of most people in "absolute" poverty).• Not only are hunger, undernourishment and poverty highly correlated among themselves, they are also highly correlated with food insecurity.• Moreover, unlike hunger or poverty, food insecurity by our definition includes both malnutrition and under-nutrition
The Main Dimensions of Food Security• Production and Availability• Physical and Social Access• Economic Access• Utilization and Nutrition NOTE: Stability is a constant aspect of each of the above dimensions
Main Dimensions Defined• Physical Access at national/individual level: a nation/individual has the ability unimpaired by any physical barriers to get hold of food• Social Access: an individual or household is able to access food by one or another of political /communal /familial /other social-institutional mechanism• Economic Access: an individual or household is able to access food by exercising purchasing power in markets• Utilization/Nutrition refers to both processes and outcomes whereby food consumed is converted into health, nutrition and well-being
Necessary Clarifications• Availability, Access & Stability are customarily taken to be the dimensions of FS (e.g., in FIVIMS). This can be reconciled with our conceptual definitions and dimensions as follows:• FIRST, while “Stability” is defined with reference to time, it is built into our 4 dimensions since our definition of FS is independent of time (occasionally, repeatedly, or permanently).• SECOND, Availability, Access & Stability all have both physical and economic dimensions. Due to the great importance of access at the individual level, we divide it into Physical & Social Access and Economic Access.• THIRD, the customary approach assumes utilization is guaranteed by Access while we make no such assumption.
Necessary Clarifications [contd.]• Production and Availability refers to physical and economic availability at the national level. Econ. avail. or supply implies phys. avail. but not vice versa e.g., air- grown tomatoes are not physically available but deep sea fish is. But if the fish is not harvestable, it is not supply.• Physical access means consumers can get hold of the food. Bread in the shop is physically accessible to a penniless man (e.g., by stealing) but a food tray ten feet from a rich bed-ridden woman is not.• Social access is access via a political /communal / familial (more generally, non-market) mechanism.• Economic access is via the market (called demand).
Poverty and FIS: Correlation and Divergence• Most notions of “absolute” poverty are based on or include food requirements• So it is likely that the poor are food insecure and the food insecure are poor• But likelihood or probability is not necessity• Poverty is neither necessary nor sufficient FIS POV ≠ FIS• Arguably, a good definition of poverty must come close to establishing equivalence: i.e., POV ≈ FIS
CROSS-CUTTING Dimensions of Food Security• Governance & Institutions• Infrastructure• Environment• Women and Other Disadvantaged Groups
Cross-Cutting Dimensions Defined• Governance & Institutions refers to the social arrangements that define who `owns‟ or controls the political process by which policy goals and policy choices are designed and implemented; its key features include participation, transparency, monitoring, accountability and sanctions• Environment refers to the natural sources that provide the material inputs including (land, space and atmosphere) for production and living, and the natural sinks that absorb or clear way the unwanted by- products of production and living
Cross-Cutting … [contd.]• Infrastructure comprises prerequisites of and aids to productive activity shared across 2 or more sectors (1) `hard or economic (irrigation, transportation, power, etc.); (2) `soft or social: education, health, and safety nets; and (3) institutional or governance: property laws, access to resources and services, and organizations in the delivery of various services and public goods• Women & Other Disadvantaged Groups: special status to chronically FIS or vulnerable groups including women, disadvantaged regions, the disabled, the elderly, children, ethnic minorities.
Food Security at Different Levels of Analysis• Food security at the… – National Level – Regional Level – Household Level – Individual Level• Food security at different levels can be independent of each other – e.g. country can be FS at national level and FIS at household level
Access within the Household• Household-level distribution but individual need• Individual food intake is difficult to observe• Unequal distribution: survival strategy (common aim) or unequal power (conflictive relations)?• Patriarchal versus female-headed families• Difficulty of targeting food to specific members• In most cases, increasing food security of the household overall will lead to adequate diets for the individual members
The Concept of Food Entitlements• Distinguish proximate basis of food insecurity from its ultimate causes• For HH and individuals, "entitlements" are proximate basis of FIS or FS• Entitlements: ability to acquire goods & services, through economic activity or gifts or transfer from an external source• Food Entitlements: ability to acquire food, through economic activity or gifts or transfer from an external source
Box 2.3: Entitlement• What we can eat depends upon the food that we are able to acquire. The presence of food within an economy does not entitle a person to consume it. In each social structure, given the prevailing legal, political, and economic arrangements, a person can establish command over alternative commodity bundles. These bundles could be extensive, or very limited, and what a person can consume will be directly dependent upon what these bundles are. The set of alternative bundles of commodities over which a person can establish such command is referred to as this person‟s „entitlements‟.• For example, a peasant who grows his own food is entitled to what he has grown, adjusted for any obligations he may have (e.g. to money lenders). He can sell, if he wants, a part of his output for cash to buy other goods and services, and all the alternatives commodity bundles he can acquire through these means lie within his entitlement set. Similarly, a wage labourer‟s entitlement is given by what he can buy with his wages.Source: Dreze and Sen. 1989.
Main Types of Entitlement• 1. Trade-based entitlement, which describes what an individual can buy with the commodities and cash they own.2. Production-based entitlement, which describes the right to own what one produces with ones own resources.• 3. Own-labour entitlement, which describes the sale of ones own labour power, and the resulting trade- based entitlements.• 4. Inheritance and transfer entitlement, which refers to the right to own what is willingly given by others as remittances, gifts or bequests, as well as transfers from the state such as social security, pensions and food distribution.
Dietary Intake• Dietary intake refers to the quantities and qualities of foods consumed• Dietary requirements refers to normatively defined average quantities +qualities of foods consumed, the norms referring to desired individual levels of nutrition, abilities or `functionings‟• Due to individual variations in utilization, fulfilling dietary requirements is not the same as achieving desired nutrition levels or functionings