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Profiling Food Insecurity and Rural Diets in Myanmar


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Profiling Food Insecurity and Rural Diets in Myanmar by Jose Luis Vivero Pol, Head of Vulnerability Analysis & Mapping Unit, WFP Myanmar.

Presented at the ReSAKSS-Asia - MIID conference "Evolving Agrifood Systems in Asia: Achieving food and nutrition security by 2030" on Oct 30-31, 2019 in Yangon, Myanmar.

Published in: Food
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Profiling Food Insecurity and Rural Diets in Myanmar

  1. 1. Profiling food insecurity and rural diets in Myanmar Livelihoods, agroecological zoning and seasonality Jose Luis Vivero-Pol, WFP MyanmarOctober 2019
  2. 2. Background information and methodology Food Security and Poverty Estimation (FSP) Surveys: • Questionnaire focused on household characteristics, food consumption, coping strategies, expenditures and livelihoods • 2 stages random cluster sampling: 50 villages in each area, 12 HH per village (1,024 in total) • 4 waves from June 2013 to July 2015 (Sample size: 12,663 households) Food Security and Market Price Information System (FSMPIS) Surveys: • Regular food security monitoring in 110 rural townships • 2 stages random cluster sampling: 7 village per townships, 6 households per village • Twice per year (2013-2017) (Sample size: 14,485 households) • Monthly prices of 11 commodities monitored in73 townships (6 regions) Dataset: +27,000 households (2013-2017) Project: Improved Food Security and Market Price Information System (Feb 2012 – Feb 2017)
  3. 3. Number of observations by township (#) Sample villages (FSMPIS/FSPES) Methodology: Geographical coverage Geographical coverage of the surveys
  4. 4. Consultationswith stakeholders Secondary Data Analysis Are nutritious foods available, accessible and chosen for consumption? • Information about Food Systems • Databases, reports, peer-reviewed articles, grey literature Cost of the Diet What does a nutritious diet cost and is it affordable? • Food prices, household expenditure • Data sources: - CPI and MPLCS 2015-16 Fill the Nutrient Gap (FNG) Analysis Process Identify possible interventions and entry points Estimate minimum cost nutritious diet and economic accessibility Intervention modelling by state/region2018-2019
  6. 6. Malnutrition is still high Stunting 27% Wasting 7% Anaemia 36% Overweight/obesity 30% Anaemia 30% Children under 5 Women of reproductive age MMFCS 2017-18
  7. 7. Stunting and wasting are reducing, while overweight/obesity is on the rise 16 3030 41 27 11 7 0 10 20 30 40 50 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012 2014 2016 Prevalence(%) Stunting (Under 5) MMFCS 2017-18 Wasting (Under 5)
  8. 8. CotD 2019 A nutritious diet costs more than twice as much as an energy only diet 10% of households COULD NOT afford 60% of households COULD NOT affordK1963 Per day K4358 Per day Energy Only Diet Nutritious Diet National averages
  9. 9. Cost of a nutritious diet is a primary driver of non-affordability Highest in hilly/mountainous and coastal areas CotD 2019 Daily household cost of a nutritious diet (kyat) Non-affordability of a nutritious diet (%)
  10. 10. Agriculture Development Strategy (ADS) Multi-sectoral National Action Plan for Nutrition (MS-NPAN) Linking NUTRITION and AGRICULTURE in MYANMAR Food Insecure Households and Poor Dietary Diversity Multi-year strategy (from farm to plate) BUT food security is small component Oblivious of nutritional impact Multi-sectoral (5 Ministries) Originally led by Health but now balancing the weights
  11. 11. Where do food insecure populations live? Share VS absolute numbers in FCS FCS indicator (%) Householdswith inadequate diet 1. Higher % in mountains 2. Differences exist within state/regions. Need of disaggregated analysis 3. Inland-coastal plains account for two thirds of total food- insecure rural population 4. Seasonality (to date a non-issue in policy making) arises as an important factor (i.e. casual labour, food gaps, food prices, epidemic diseases). Lack of regular data prevent further analysis Number of households with an inadequate diet the week prior
  12. 12. Three typologies to better profiling food insecurity and dietary deficiencies 1. LIVELIHOOD PROFILES 2. AGRO-ECOLOGICAL ZONES 3. SEASONALITY
  13. 13. Source: Myanmar Food Security Atlas (WFP – MoALI,, 2019) Rural Livelihoods Groups: First Typology Households were clustered into “livelihood groups” based on (a) sources of income, (b) self-reported profession of household head (c) (c) land ownership (the most relevant asset in rural areas).
  14. 14. Only-Farmers (12%) Small-scale Farmers (20%) Casual labour with no land (12%) 47% rural HH are landless In self- described farmers, 23% are landless.
  15. 15. 0.0% 5.0% 10.0% 15.0% 20.0% 25.0% 30.0% 35.0% 40.0% Inadequate food consumption (FCS) per livelihood profile Inadequate food consumption
  16. 16. Food Security Atlas, 2019 • No self-production, livestock or assets to sell • Depend on day labour for income • Rely on credit to purchase food ~70% of average household borrowing Landless workers who rely on credit to purchase food often fall into cycles of poverty and debt
  17. 17. Shan North Shan EastShan South Kachin North Kachin South Sagaing Up Sagaing Central Sagaing Low Mandalay Magway Bago Yangon Kayin Mon Tanintharyi Ayeyarwady Rakhine Chin Kayah Food Security Atlas, 2019 Smallholder farmers in the mountains have the poorest dietary diversity in Myanmar Percentage of households with inadequate dietary diversity <20% 20-40% 40-60% >60% • Lowest consumption of protein-rich foods • Depend on markets for staples during rainy season • ~60% don’t sell any of their production
  18. 18. Key features of Myanmar Agro-ecological zones Myanmar agro- ecological zones Mountainous areas (above 1000 m) Hilly areas (300 – 1000 m) Inland Plains (100 – 270 m) Coastal Plains (Low or below the sea elevations) Regions/States Chin State (except Paletwa), Northern Sagaing, Northern Kachin, Kayah, Kayin (Eastern), Shan Rakhine South, Magway (Eastern), Sagaing Central/South, Kachin North, Shan, Kayah, Kayin (Eastern), Tanintharyi (Eastern) Bago, Magway, Mandalay, Sagaing, Kachin South Northern Rakhine, Ayeyarwady, Yangon, Bago (Eastern), Mon, Tanintharyi (West) Rainy season Mid May to mid-October Mid May to mid- October Mid May to mid- October Annual rainfall Rainfall Annual rainfall (average 1981 - 2016) 2200 mm 2200 mm 1600 mm 1700 – 4700 mm Topography High mountains, rugged, poor communications Transitional areas, forest-covered, between plains & mountains Flat topography, dry & semi-dry climate Coastal regions where influence of humid monsoon is high, delta regions Land use for agriculture Shift cultivation in hilly areas, multiple crops, small land plots Crops in valleys Paddy cultivation by irrigation, rainfed in some areas. Pulses also important Paddy mono culture in large land plots, fishing, aquaculture, many landless households Major crops Millet, maize, vegetables Rice, vegetables, livestock Rice pulses Rice, groundnut, sesame, pulses, oil seeds Rice (60% of total rice production), rubber, oil palm, pulses Constraints Forest land degraded by permanent cultivation High seasonality Landslides, isolation Poor infrastructure (roads, energy, schools) Soil erosion, high seasonality Few fertile land, low potential for cash crops Poor irrigation schemes and maintenance canals Erratic rains Recurrent floods Meagre livelihood options outside fishing, high landlessness Average Household Size 5.2 4.9 4.7 4.2 Dependent household members 41.9 percent 39 percent 36.2 percent 37.7 percent Households with under 5 children 47.1 percent 40.1 percent 34.2 percent 34.3 percent Livelihood Groups Small scale farmers, Landless diversified casual workers Small scale farmers, Landless diversified casual workers Only-farmers, Small-scale farmers, Landless casual workers Landless casual workers, Commercial farmers with diversification, Small- scale farmers, only farmers Agro- Ecological Zones: second typology
  19. 19. Highest food insecurity in Mountains and Coast Mountains (above 1000 m) Hilly areas (300 – 1000 m) Inland Plains (100 – 270 m) Coastal Plains (0 – 100 m) National Average HHs with low Dietary Diversity (24 h) 56.5% 43.5% 23% 27.6% 26% HHs with inadequate Food Consumption (7 days) 60% 48% 26% 21% 25.4% Food from self-production 32% 25% 16% 10% 13.5% HHs with self-reported hunger (last 30 days) 13.2% 8.6% 8.8% 11.3% 11.4% HHs using Consumption Coping Mechanisms (last 30 days) 26% 23% 21% 28% 27.3% HHs reporting food gaps (last 12 months) 74% 65% 54% 51% 53.2% Average number of months (food gap) 2.5 2.0 1.7 1.5 1.5 Food poverty (MOPF and World Bank, 2017b) 16% 16% 7% 19% 10%
  20. 20. Coastal areas: high fish Inland plains: high pulses + eggs 1.- For all wealth levels, households in hills or mountains showed low diversified diets 2.- The better off in mountains eat worse than poor in coastal and inland plains 3.- The poor in coastal areas consumed protein- rich foods 5.8 times/week against 3.3 times in the mountains GEOGRAPHICAL DIFFERENCES EXPLAIN DIFFERENT HABITS
  21. 21. EGGS • Eggs are highly nutritious but infrequently consumed in Myanmar, especially by women and children. • More than 100 eggs available/pp/yr in Myanmar • Cheap, available, and consumed by children in wealthy countries; but expensive, scarce, and rarely consumed in Africa and South Asia (Morris et al., 2019). • Among women, egg consumption is strongly related to socio‐economic status • Cultural factors play a role during pregnancy, lactation, and early childhood Lutter et al. (2018). Special issue on Eggs. Maternal & Child Nutrition 2018.
  22. 22. Seasonality. Third typology Average HH annual food gap duration by region o Households experiencing longer food gaps are in South Chin, Central Sagaing, Rural Yangon, South Kayah and South Shan % of households experiencing food gaps by month o Chin (90%) and Shan South (73%) the highest shares of food gaps o Mon (29%) and Tanintharyi (42%) the lowest
  23. 23. The hunger season varies in depth and length…but always comes Coastal plains Inland plains Hills 300 to 1000m Mountains above 1000m Normal Moderate High Hunger season 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Coastal plains Inland plains Hills 300 to 1000m Mountains above 1000m Normal Moderate High Hunger season
  24. 24. Evidence-based policy recommendations (one example)
  25. 25. Conclusions • “New Typologies” help explaining food insecurity, livelihoods and dietary patterns. Useful for evidence-based policy making and programming • Further research merging the three typologies is needed at lower administrative level (township). • Intra-state differences on FNS issues are important (i.e. Sagain North & South, Bago West & East, Chin Mountains & Lowlands) • The Fringe Borders are more food insecure than central dry inlands (more resilient and self-sufficient + less presence of State infrastructure) • Land is the key determinant of vulnerable livelihoods • Casual labour and seasonality are essential levers of vulnerability and food insecurity and so far under-developed • 25% rural households with inadequate food consumption (60% in mountains, 21% in coastal plains)
  26. 26. THANK YOU!!!