Food Security: Principles and Issues

The term food security started in international development literature in the1960s and 1970s. Public interest in global and local food security grew speedily following the world oil turmoil and related food crisis of 1972-74, with the African famine of 1984-85, the upsurge in numbers of folks looking for food assistance in developed countries, as reported by churches, community centers and soup kitchens, and the growing amounts of food banks in america (U. S. ) and Canada.

The idea of food security has advanced and expanded over time to integrate an array of food-related issues and to more completely reflect the complexness of the role of food in human society. Early meanings focused almost specifically on the ability of an area or nation to make sure an satisfactory food supply for its current and projected society. The emphasis was on secure usage of food for a people, with one concentrate on the role of food as a vehicle for nourishment, by under approximated the symbolic, ethnic, social and political role of food with in the culture.

1: Food security is defined as access by all people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life and includes at the very least

a) The ready availability of nutritionally satisfactory and safe foods, and

b) The guaranteed ability to obtain appropriate food in socially acceptable ways (LSRO, 1990).

2: "Food security" means that food is offered by all times; that all persons have method of access to it; that it is nutritionally enough in conditions of number, quality and variety; and that it is satisfactory within the given culture. Only when all these conditions are set up can a population be considered "food secure" (FAO, 1996).

3: Community food security is present when all people get yourself a safe, personally satisfactory, nutritious diet by using a sustainable food system that maximizes healthy alternatives, community self applied reliance and identical access for everyone (Open public Health Relationship of English Columbia, 2004).

4: "When everyone at all times have access to sufficient food to meet their diet needs for a beneficial and healthy life" (USAID Bureau for Africa, 1986).

There are different concepts and explanation was given to "food security" by different individuals, this is because of they make an effort to understand and explain in various ways. For instance, an individual attempts to conceptualization the common components of food security in different circumstances;

Universality - identical access for each and every one

Stability - secure gain access to in any way times

Dignity - provides in a fashion that promotes individual dignity, in socially appropriate way

With out the necessity to restore to disaster food providers (Toronto Food


Quantity - enough to meet up with the dietary needs for an active life

Quality; -safe healthy/adequate nutritionally

-culturally appropriate and getting together with food preference of the community

- stated in an green and lasting way

- stated in the way that promote neighborhoods socio-economic development

The idea of food security also offers a spatial and temporal dimension. When we say food security has a spatial context, the geographic magnitude to which it will be considered (global, nationwide, regional and community level), While, the temporal dimensions refers to enough time frame, over which food security is going to be considered. Food security in a wider circumstance is seen in to two wider categories; persistent food insecurity (the inability of the average person or community to meet their food need for a long period/ongoing basis) and transitory food insecurity (the inability to satisfy the food demand for a non permanent base) (Maxwell and Frankenberger, 1992). Transitory food insecurity also some times can be divided into two subcategories: cyclical; this form of food insecurity has a normal pattern, especially appear at the period in which late following the harvest of the pervious season and immediately before the harvest of the next season crop.

Food security is definitely not static; there are likely to be normal fluctuations in the year in conditions of food supply, access and utilization. It's important to determine which changes are normal and that happen to be credited to a hazard or a serious crisis.

Food security is accessible when everyone, at all times have physical, interpersonal and economic access to sufficient, safe and wholesome food which fulfills their nutritional requirements and food preferences for a dynamic and healthy life. Food insecurity is present when people lack secure access to sufficient levels of safe and healthy food for normal development and development and an active and healthy life. It might be triggered by the unavailability of food, inadequate purchasing power, improper distribution, or limited use of food at the household level (Webb and Rodgers, Dealing with the "In" in Food Insecurity, pg. 5 and 7, February 2003).

Generally, the definition of food security is dependant on three important pillars

Food supply;

Food gain access to; and

Food usage.

Food availability in a country, region or local area means that food is physically present since it has been cultivated, manufactured, brought in and/or carried there. For example: food can be acquired because it are available on markets, since it is produced on local farms, land or home gardens, or because it arrives as part of food aid, etc. That is food that is visible and in the area.

Food gain access to is the way different people can buy the available food. Normally we gain access to food via a mixture of home creation, securities, purchase, barter, items, borrowing or food help. Food access is made certain when communities and households and all individuals within them have satisfactory resources, such as money, to acquire appropriate foods for a healthy diet. Access depends on income open to family members, on the distribution of income within the household and on the price tag on food. It also is determined by market, sociable and institutional entitlement/rights to which people have access.

Food access can be negatively inspired by physical insecurity such as conflict, loss of coping options, such as border closure preventing seasonal job migration, or the collapse of back-up institutions that once protected people with low earnings.

Food utilization is the way people use the food and is dependent on the quality of the meals, its preparation and storage method, healthy knowledge, as well as on the health status of the average person consuming the food. Certain diseases don't allow for the maximum absorption of nutrition and expansion requires increased intake of certain nutrition.

Food utilization is often reduced by endemic disease, poor sanitation, insufficient appropriate diet knowledge or culturally prescribed taboos that affect usage of wholesome food by certain groupings or family members according to time or gender.

2: Diagnosis and Monitoring of Food Security

Assessment means wisdom, appraisal, estimation or analysis. It is an activity that is utilized to understand a situation to make decisions on whether there is a need to respond to a hazard or even to a predicament that can lead to a disaster if nothing is done. The analysis must gather information that allows a good evaluation of the problem and the dangers to life, individuals dignity, health insurance and livelihoods of the population. The principle of any assessment is usually that the affected community and local government bodies are consulted.

An evaluation is part of an bigger process that will serve a greater purpose than just taking a look at understanding the situation and the needs. During each diagnosis the question will be lifted whether the Country wide Society should act in response or not with the ultimate objective to save lots of lives and also to reduce vulnerability of the city.

Food security assessments are no different from general assessments in their target, but look more specifically at how people try to maintain a secure food environment for themselves, and if they succeed. The general objective of the food security examination is to understand how severe the food insecurity is, and why this is actually the case. Then the objective is to determine if there is a need to intervene to return people to a standard food security situation in the short term and/or lasting. The focus of an food security evaluation will be on evaluating the food security situation for various sets of people. In addition, food security assessments can help to predict upcoming food insecurity or can forecast the period of an insecure food period.

We need to understand how people make their living, whether through food creation, or working for an income or an assortment of both. More specifically we have to understand how they meet their food needs. We need to understand what resources they supply for themselves such as land, pets or animals, doing some fishing areas, pasture for grazing, range of livestock, and work force. We have to understand who are able to gain access to these resources and whether this gain access to changes as time passes. For example it could be that water resources for pets or animals are limited in the dried out season in support of those who can pay gain access to them. The analysis should compare the normal situation and the current situation. Comparisons between your two enable you to decide how and just why the situation has deteriorated. This is actually the first rung on the ladder towards understanding the needs that occur credited to a threat or chronic crisis and deciding the best response.

Food security is definitely not static; there are likely to be normal fluctuations in the entire year in conditions of food availability, access and usage. It's important to determine which changes are normal and which can be anticipated to a hazard or a serious crisis. An assessment of the consequences of a flood during the hunger gap should consider that food stocks and shares were low and prices probably high at the time of the flood but that this is not the "normal" situation for the whole year. A being hungry gap is the time before the main harvest, when food stores are often low and people sometimes need to lower their diet to be able to survive to the next harvest.

Step 1: Preparation phase of food security assessment

In this task, the analyst will try to define the aim of the assessment, choose the analysis team and draft their responsibility of data collection, evaluation and write final report, define the area based on the original information you might have a concept where you need to visit do the diagnosis. In addition to this there are what to which the experts should take in to accounts that;

Find out other organizations that are doing in the same field, in order to build up a framework of sharing information, idea, experience and material;

Establishing budget schedule and arrange if needed;

Inform the federal government authority of your plan in order to get specialized assistance and personal security;

Prepare and secure the field equipments (transport, stationary, etc. );

Identify and determine methodologies and tools that can be used in the total process and including a female interviewer.

Step 2: secondary information collection

Obtaining extra information means being able to access existing information (extra data). The information has already been collected prior to the food security evaluation for other purposes. It is accumulated by others and it'll be accumulated.

Secondary information is important in a manner that helps the researcher to obtain a better clarity about all the context of the whole area, to guide the researcher to provide more emphasis in the collection of main data (it might provide a basic line information, that help us to compare your entire primary information) also to save time and cost, even though the validity of the info some times places under question.

The main resources of supplementary information were key informants interviews (the government, local officials, experts, aged and experienced people) and from different written documents, such as; magazines, news paper, information and Compact disk libraries.

There will vary types of information that might have to be obtaining from extra source. It can be used as, a base series information and/or a list of guidelines for the next step of gathering the principal data. Included in this;

The demographic profile

The various communal group

Social and political constructions and power

The infrastructural base

Livelihood account/ food financial zone (waged, labor, agricultural creation, trade, etc. . . )

Existing devastation preparedness or contingency plan and response mechanisms

Community asset basic and its syndication ( physical, financial, real human, natural, communal and political capital)

Market evaluation (its location, access and price of the major food and cash vegetation).

Undertaking an analysis is not really a rigid process. The collection of secondary data doesn't have to be 100 % complete before you start collecting principal data. The main fact is that you have all the necessary information before you get started analyzing information and before you bring your conclusions.

In basic, the assortment of supplementary data should be researched for its relevance to the diagnosis objectives. Some information may be easily available and accessible, while other information might require more effort to be accumulated. The quality of the information will vary. Secondary information may also be found at countrywide capital, provincial and region town levels.

An important info source to talk to during secondary information collection is your colleagues; National Society staff and volunteers. Institutional ram is valuable, and asking for information from fellow workers who were involved in previous emergencies and assessments can provide good and reliable information. All or some of this information will provide you with an initial impression on the region, areas and potential impact of different varieties of crises. Also, with these details, it should be possible to identify the information that is absent, that needs to be collected through major data collection.

Step 3: primary information collection

Obtaining major information means collecting new information (principal data) using various methods in which the community and other key people actively participate. The info is gathered for the specific purpose of the food security assessment and will be acquired.

This step is vital to the total efficiency of the examination result (the level of food insecurity and vulnerability condition) and decision that we made, because of this, we provide a great care and attention and attention. It isn't a complicated process but it requires a various techniques and methodologies. Professionals should aware to each techniques may produce different out comes plus they able to assimilate it in to the extra data that allows to analysis the situation and reaches to the final recommendation and summary.

In this step the focus is on the real situation. The data will be gathered straight from the affected or targeted community. We should collect a great deal of primary information by using various techniques that is appropriate, cost effective and able us to search out detail information. Included in this; observation, interviews with individuals or groupings, transit walk with key informants and questionnaires were widely used.

How ever, questionnaires is being now debatable and controversial, because it takes a great deal of experienced experts to create a constructible questionnaires, the question also influence the respondents focuses on providing a response in a single directional and limited on question; in other words the interviewer cannot able to brain surprise a lot of information from the wider framework. Also the analysis and interpretation of questionnaires is not simple and need some training to use them.


Observation is one type of techniques amongst others in which the interviewer uses to get an enormous amount of information. Observations largely before, after and during the interview can help us to cross-check the actual people will be forwarded during the interview or group discussion. Things that we observed prior to the interview can be clarified during interviewing people and in other conditions, observation during the interviewing really helps to take down notes in the precise manner, even if we only write down some key phrases. How ever, not absolutely all observations will indicate the exact aftereffect of an acute crisis, because the time and the problem of observations things which is more of subjective in dynamics.


Interviewing through the assessment, meaning getting a in person meeting and discourse with peoples, most of they are; semi structured interviews. This implies the interviewer prepare some open concluded questions or talk subjects in advance and check-lists of several topics you want to discuses that pose them to believe and raise all issues. The interviewer should encourage delivering things you want to speak about and the whole procedures should be conversational.

We are always strives in the all processes of the interview is to learn the necessary information on the asset base of the homeowners, the demographic profile and generally, the over-all life situations of the contemporary society. We have to identify in detail about, the political situations (including the government plan, subsidies, transportation bans, fuel price, and restriction of movement, categories prone to communal discrimination by the neighborhood government and interpersonal organizations, empowering individuals, women's especially), their physical advantage (infrastructures; health facilities, classes, telecommunication, road, drinking water harvesting structures, pure water source etc), financial capital (including micro finance and credit institution that's available for these people), human being, natural and interpersonal capital of the community.

Selecting a target group

Selecting individuals you want to interview depends upon the information you need. Firstly, you want some basic information straight and indirectly related to food security. Because of this, a heterogeneous emphasis group discussion with folks of differing backgrounds and viewpoints is the best option. You can find two ways to get this done: either you select individuals for the group, or you get started the focus group with the first group you meet after arrival in the area. You select the individuals for the emphasis group: For example, you include local health individuals, farmers, authorities administrators, professionals and teachers, and if appropriate with a good balance between men and women. In order to do this you ask community leaders to nominate the folks or you decide on people randomly, on the basis of their features.

Ideally, carrying out a few focus group discussions, you walk through the area to observe the situation and cross-check the information obtained in the emphasis groups. That is also a good moment in time to do some household trips, with or without a more detailed interview. You decide on them randomly and not all clustered next to each other. Sometimes the members of the emphasis group would want to demonstrate around the area and take you to their homes. Following this visit you can choose another home and ask to go to this home.

Step 4: Analysis

Now that we have already gathered the information, we have to analyze our findings. Before you get started the analysis you need to

Re-read all your notes and score, compare the areas, the communities, prioritize whatever we think are essential problems; and

Have a team assembly in which we discuss everybody's impressions, results and compare areas and areas.

The important part is whether you are able to answer the questions you set out to reach in the targets of your meal security examination. Do you realize the meals security situation of folks and do they want the help of the National Culture? If so, we try to decide what kind of assistance they need and how ewe will be provided to the most food insecure households and individuals to reach our objectives.

we should now be able to pull conclusions on the food availability for neighborhoods; who has gain access to and does not, and on the use of food at home level and exactly how this has changed over time and why. We should also be able to indicate who the probably vulnerable groupings are with are regard to food insecurity.

Generally, we should try to return back to be able to looking, internalizing and cross-checking the info that we get before with the questions and the goals. And especial attention is being directed at in drawing conclusions or generalizations, if the area we assessed were very heterogeneous in terms of demography, livelihood strategies and ethnicity or if we'd many constraints in going to areas (for political reasons, physical access problems)

3: key leverage points

Food insecurity has been referred to as "a condition where people lack basic diet to supply them with the vitality and nutrients for fully profitable lives" (Cravings for food Task Drive). It is mainly caused by a complex and a variety of inter related factors. The immediate and immediate factor of food insecurity is because of in adequacy of all the basic pillars of food security. That is mainly due to low agricultural output and "low adequate income or other resources to buy or barter to acquire degree of appropriate food needed by way of a person to keep up use for an satisfactory diet and nutritional level" (CRS, 1999).

Generally, poverty become the real cause of food insecurity and the partnership is energetic and "inextricably associated" (CRS, 1999). Poverty can have a significant influence on the 'production capacity' of the community. The commutative effect can lead visitors to in the express of low purchasing electric power. In addition, catastrophe can distract the prevailing limited capacities and it becomes the bottleneck problem and puts individuals and the city most importantly within the vicious pattern of food insecurity.

There are many different situations where people face increased vulnerability to food insecurity and not every household will be damaged just as. Some people may lose many property abruptly (as with a rapid or acute crisis) and all of a sudden find they may have little methods to survive. Some individuals lose their resources slowly over time (just as a slow starting point or chronic crisis). The next amount shows how food security can be afflicted as time passes, through different types of crises.

Communities will use different coping mechanisms in order to keep up their level of food security. Early on warning signs for food insecurity vary and might include: reduction in the amount of meals; taking out loans; providing clothes; unusual raises in food prices; retailing profitable tools or farm land; unusual people motions; and increased prostitution. Different assistance programs at different moments in time will have a different effect on food security. However they all purpose at restoring, directly or indirectly, the meals security level to the pre-crisis level.

If this is actually the case, different treatment should be under taken to talk about food insecurity in the short, medium and long-term base. Such as for example;

Short- term

Strengthening the logistics capacity and increasing the provision of food help of the humanitarian agencies and the government;

Assure the multi-year determination of food assistance;

Institutionalized safety net program; for the growing numbers of chronically food insecure Ethiopians, who are unable to meet their subsistence needs even in good rainfall years, an institutionalized back-up, linked to an authentic leave strategy, is urgently needed. The concern with national food availability risks neglecting home access to food. Targeting of food aid must be sharpened to boost a locative efficiency and lessen dependency and disincentives;

To stimulate market development and offer choice to recipients, local purchases must be preferred than food imports;

Improving early alert system

Designing economic tillage

Improve traditional irrigation


Especially in drought-affected areas, recapitalization is essential. This may include support to livestock restocking in the pastoralist parts, and restoring usage of productive assets - notably land and draught vitality - to asset less homes in crop farming areas. (Note that access will not necessarily imply individual ownership. )

Given Ethiopia's extreme climatic variability, stabilizing agricultural production is really as important as increasing yields. Policy concentration should shift from yield-enhancing technical inputs deals, towards interventions such as investing in indigenous, small-scale irrigation systems to stabilize crop produces in drought years.

Developing credit establishment; the rural credit organization should be setup to assist the farmers employed in off-farm activities and trading on agriculture such as use of fertilizer and increased seeds to enhance productivity, this has makes the community become food secure. It is also essential that similar facilities can be found to shareholders that will also create further employment opportunities.

Establish better market condition

Utilizing underground water

Diversifying agricultural production


Food insecurity in Ethiopia is exacerbated by disincentives and barriers that prevent folks from pursuing sustainable livelihoods. An insurance plan dialogue should be initiated around regulations and methods that (1) constrain agricultural productivity (e. g. rigid land tenure systems and insecurity brought on by repeated land redistribution); (2) undermine alternative economical activities (e. g. polices that inhibit investment).

Support to diversification away from precarious livelihood systems (agriculture and pastoralist) towards ecological alternatives whose earnings are not correlated with rainfall - possibly agro-industry, or services such as community-based tourism. While progress in agricultural creation remains a key to the attainment of food security, in the drought vulnerable area, this has to be supplemented by other monetary activities. The Chinese language food security statement reveals that more than 200 million folks of rural origins are engaged in off-farm activities that they call as township business. The people engaged are originally farmers and objective realities have required their transfer to the industrial activity. In Ethiopia the potential for such an alternative employment may not be as large as it is in china, but initiatives have to make in this direction;

Extensive training will get to the farmers on the proper use of drinking water, chicken farming, honey production, livestock and forestry development, garden soil and water conservation, pest control, better farming methods etc. to the effect, building the necessary institutional capacity is vital.

Empowering women; advancements in the household food security and diet are associated with women's usage of income and their role in home decisions on expenses. It is because women tend to spend a significantly higher percentage of the income than men on food for the family. The reduced status of ladies in society is a major impediment to the effort to attain food security. Women play significant role in family and childcare and related activities. Their control and decision making vitality on family income and property and on matters of borrowing and loaning is, however, limited. This has added to the monetary problem and decrease which many family members faces, and therefore the society at large

Improve agricultural technology

Overseeing environmental speculation

Creating good job opportunity

Infrastructure development, such as road, schools, health middle, irrigation structures, electricity and communication net workers.

Institutional set up or development; building the existing capacities and extension of organizations, which can immediately support the attempts made to attain food security, will get a serious attention. A number of the major concentration will be on; strengthening and creating technological centers; implementing firms (Agricultural offices should be strengthened with the provision of training, equipment, inputs for the prevailing nurseries and means of move for the expansion services. This inflatable water development offices should as well be advanced through the provision of drilling equipment, pumps and pipes), cooperatives and mass organizations will also an important things to attain the desired goal.

The federal government should be adequate committed to the modern culture in mobilizing and helping the total efforts to achieve food security. The federal government has been promoting farmers through the cheap way to obtain agricultural inputs, the creation of usage of market, building the capacity of the city through education and training, producing policies and strategies to improve environment

Also We Can Offer!

Other services that we offer

If you don’t see the necessary subject, paper type, or topic in our list of available services and examples, don’t worry! We have a number of other academic disciplines to suit the needs of anyone who visits this website looking for help.

How to ...

We made your life easier with putting together a big number of articles and guidelines on how to plan and write different types of assignments (Essay, Research Paper, Dissertation etc)