Assessing Food Insecurity in Latin America and the Caribbean Using FAO’s Food Insecurity Experience Scale

Posted: 8 Jan 2019

See all articles by Paul Winters

Paul Winters

International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

Michael Smith

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Woubet Kassa

The World Bank

Date Written: August 2017

Abstract

The complexity of the operational concept and definition of food insecurity has complicated the study of the ‘food insecure’ and efforts to determine clear policy directions. Previous findings on the prevalence and severity of food insecurity are inconsistent and often depend on the measure used. To overcome limitations in food security measurement, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations developed the Food Insecurity Experience Scale, which is the first survey protocol to measure people’s direct experience of food insecurity on a global scale. Using this new measure, our study contributes to the understanding of the food insecure by examining the determinants of food insecurity within and across countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Using a series of multilevel linear models, we find the three determinants associated with the largest increase in the likelihood of experiencing food insecurity in LAC are: low levels of education, limited social capital, and living in a country with low GDP per capita. Results suggest the need to promote education of the most vulnerable, encourage social interactions that help build individuals’ social capital, and adopt gender-sensitive programs. The results also suggest the need for a shift in policy from short-term strategies to long-term efforts that sustain household productive capacity and employment to promote sustained economic growth.

Suggested Citation

Winters, Paul and Smith, Michael and Kassa, Woubet, Assessing Food Insecurity in Latin America and the Caribbean Using FAO’s Food Insecurity Experience Scale (August 2017). Food Policy, Vol. 71, 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3306583

Paul Winters (Contact Author)

International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) ( email )

Via Paolo di Dono
Rome, 00142
Italy

Michael Smith

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Woubet Kassa

The World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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