Hidden Hunger: Understanding Dietary Adequacy in Urban and Rural Food Consumption in Senegal
IFPRI Discussion Paper 2036, July 2021
45 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2021
Date Written: July 27, 2021
Using household consumption data collected in 2017/18, this paper analyzes patterns of urban and rural food consumption in Senegal. We adopt two methodological approaches. The first is an in-depth (spatial) analysis of current diets and corresponding nutrient intakes, coupled with an identification of possible food items to address nutrient gaps. The second approach is an application of the Quadratic Almost Ideal Demand System (QUAIDS) model to examine food consumption dynamics of Senegalese households. Results show that Senegal is a typical case of micronutrient deficiency, especially regarding calcium, iron and vitamin B12. Reflected by their more diversified diet, nutrient intake of urban dwellers is generally better compared to their rural counterparts, which relates to the urban sector’s higher income status and more secure access to food items, especially those rich in calcium, vitamin B12 and vitamin A. In contrast, the dietary status of rural populations is usually poorer and mainly driven by the nutrient content of cereals locally produced. Despite insufficient domestic production, the recent promotion and upsurge of small (local) cereal processing units might be a promising development to increase urban uptakes of iron. Although Senegal’s food system overall is underperforming in terms of assuring a nutritious diet for all, the most remote rural departments of the country, such as Saraya and Podor, display the highest nutrient deficiencies and therefore should be targeted with priority. Apart from geographical targeting and given their higher responsiveness to price and income changes, policies based on food pricing and income transfers should be implemented to ensure a minimal nutrient intake among the most food-insecure households. These policies could be further complemented with behavioral change campaigns which promote an alternative set of nutrient-rich and cost-effective food items. At the same time, such campaigns should advocate against excessive or imbalanced intakes of sugar and fats, which are especially problematic in the more eastern located rural areas of the country and in the urban sector of various departments located in the western and central parts of Senegal, respectively.
Keywords: Senegal, West Africa, Africa South of Sahara; Africa, Food Consumption, Diet, Urban Areas, Rural Areas, Hunger, Demand, Elasticities
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