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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 to 2008, when global food prices increaseddramatically. The average level of self-reported food insecurity was high but remarkably stable, atabout 54%. However, this average hides large heterogeneity, both within countries and acrosscountries. In eight of the sample countries, self-reported food security improved, while it worsenedin the ten other countries. Our results suggest that heterogeneous effects in self-reported foodsecurity are consistent with economic predictions, as they are correlated with net food consumption(both at the household and country level) and economic growth. Specifically, self-reported foodsecurity improved on average in rural households, while it worsened in urban households.Improvements in food security were positively correlated with net food exports and GDP per capitagrowth. We estimate that over the period 2005-2008 between 5 and 12 million people in the 18 SSAcountries became more food secure. While the self-reported indicator used in this paper requiresfurther study and one should carefully interpret the results, our findings suggest the need for acritical evaluation of the currently used data in the public debate on the food price crisis, whichmakes mention of hundreds of millions of additional food insecure.

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

Subject(s): Agricultural and Food Policy

Food Security and Poverty

Risk and Uncertainty

Issue Date: 2012

Publication Type: Conference Paper/ Presentation

PURL Identifier:

Total Pages: 39

JEL Codes: Q18; I32; O551

Record appears in: International Association of Agricultural Economists (IAAE) > 2012 Conference, August 18-24, 2012, Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil

Autor: Arora, Abhimanyu ; Swinnen, Johan F.M. ; Verpoorten, Marijke


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