• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Title Page
 Foreword
 Executive summary
 Table of Contents
 Introduction
 Rapid food security assessment...
 Information needs
 Development of contingency...
 Conclusions
 References
 Annexes














Title: Rapid food security assessment
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00095663/00001
 Material Information
Title: Rapid food security assessment
Alternate Title: Famine mitigation strategy paper
Physical Description: v, 49 leaves : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Frankenberger, Timothy R
United States -- Agency for International Development. -- Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance
Publisher: Agency for International Development, Bureau for Food and Humanitarian Assistance, Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance
Place of Publication: Washington D.C
Copyright Date: 1992
 Subjects
Subject: Food relief -- Developing countries   ( lcsh )
Food supply -- Developing countries   ( lcsh )
Famines -- Developing countries   ( lcsh )
Genre: federal government publication   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: prepared by Timothy R. Frankenberger.
Funding: "Prevention, Mitigation and Preparedness Division, OFDA/USDA Famine Mitigation Activity PASA, PASA # AFR-1526-P-AG-1129-00."
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 25-30).
General Note: Photocopy.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00095663
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 435838752

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page i
    Foreword
        Page ii
    Executive summary
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Table of Contents
        Page v
    Introduction
        Page 1
        Page 1a
    Rapid food security assessments
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
    Information needs
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
    Development of contingency plans
        Page 23
    Conclusions
        Page 23
        Page 24
    References
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
    Annexes
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
Full Text




Agency for International Development
Bureau for Food and Humanitarian Assistance
Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance


^. O9-3
0 a Ol


Famine Mitigation Strategy Paper






RAPID FOOD SECURITY ASSESSMENT




Prepared by


Timothy R. Frankenberger
Office of Arid Lands Studies
College of Agriculture
University of Arizona






1992

Prevention, Mitigation and Preparedness Division
OFDA/USDA Famine Mitigation Activity PASA
PASA # AFR-1526-P-AG-1129-00


I









Foreword


The Famine Mitigation Strategy Papers have been developed as part of an effort by the United
States Agency for International Development, Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance,
Prevention, Mitigation and Preparedness Division to assist famine response agencies and personnel
in developing and designing effective interventions to respond to extreme food insecurity and
famine situations. In preparing these papers, input was solicited from a broad range of specialists
from the international donor community, the academic community, governmental and non-
governmental agencies, and independent specialists in the field. These papers provide policy
makers, program planners, and project managers with basic background information and a range of
approaches for developing programs and projects in the areas of early warning and response
systems, rapid assessment methodologies, seeds and tools interventions, livestock interventions.
water resources development, market interventions, food/cash for work programs, and in providing
assistance under conflict situations.

It is becoming readily apparent that the most effective response strategies are those that identify
deteriorating situations and initiate appropriate responses early on in an emerging or incipient
famine process. Strategies that respond not just to the immediate symptoms of the emergency, but
also to the underlying causes of this vulnerability provide the needed and often missing link
between ongoing development, emergency relief, and recovery efforts. Many of the papers
produced under this effort differ from traditional relief oriented approaches in that they bring a
developmental approach to the provision and implementation of relief assistance.

In an era of declining emergency resources and increasing potential and actual food insecurity
situations, it is imperative that we explore and test approaches that are more cost effective, provide
rapid and positive impacts, strengthen and enhance local capabilities, and provide some level of
sustainability once the initial resources are exhausted. Greater emphasis will also be placed on
more effective monitoring of both the short term and the longer term impact of these types of
interventions. We hope that these papers can serve, in part, as catalysts in the further development
of policies, programs, and projects that better respond to the needs of those most vulnerable to the
famine process.



Richard A. Record
Program Coordinator
OFDA/USDA Famine Mitigation PASA







Executive Summary


Time-effective survey techniques are needed to determine the causes, dimensions, and
characteristics of the food insecurity situation in a given area and to implement appropriate
mitigation activities. Rapid food security assessments (RFSAs) are especially useful for this
purpose. RFSAs area type of rapid rural appraisal that provide a comprehensive sociocultural,
economic and ecological assessment of a given area for planning and project implementation. They
were developed because of the shortcomings of more costly formal methods. RFSAs are
particularly useful for identifying: 1) the most food insecure groups in a given area; 2) the causes
and magnitude of the food insecurity situation; 3) the location specific coping ability indicators for
food security monitoring; and, 4) the appropriate mitigation interventions for alleviating the food
deficit problem.

The targeting and timing of RFSAs will be triggered by early warning systems that identify specific
geographical regions susceptible to food shortages. Vulnerability maps can be drawn up to identify
areas and sections of the population that are most vulnerable to food insecurity. The development
of such maps would be the first step in identifying districts or subregions where more location
specific HFS information is necessary to collect for designing appropriate interventions.

Once a food insecure area has been designated, RFSAs can be carried out using multidisciplinary
teams. Purposive sampling procedures are normally used for selecting villages to be surveyed.
The general procedure followed in most assessments involves:

1. Reviewing secondary data to familiarize the team with the sociocultural, economic,
and ecological attributes of the area;

2. Relying on detailed open-ended interview guides to insure that pertinent issues are
covered (minimum data sets);

3. Making use of group, individual household and key informant interviews to gather
information about the local situation;

4. Carrying out the survey in a time-effective manner;

5. Using triangulation, whereby diverse methods and information sources are used to
improve accuracy;

6. Relying on extensive team interaction to maintain a multidisciplinary perspective;
and,

7. Providing immediate feedback to decision makers after the completion of the
survey.







In addition to conducting interviews, RFSAs use other techniques to gather information on food
security issues. Interactive data gathering tools such as diagrams and ranking exercises are used to
elicit peoples' perspectives on resources, constraints, social relations, wealth distribution, seasonal
trends, and selection criteria.

Upon completion of a survey, contingency plans should be drawn up to link information to
response. These contingency plans will consist of a decentralized household food security
monitoring system and a set of pre-determined responses to implement when food security
conditions change. This monitoring system would incorporate a small set of location specific
indicators updated annually to detect changes in food entitlement and supply. The intervention
responses would be triggered by the monitoring system. Responses would encompass
development-type interventions to enhance the long-term sustainability of livelihood systems and
household food security, mitigation-type interventions to enable households to retain their
productive assets, and relief-type responses if immediate food aid distribution is warranted. To
ensure that household food security interventions are appropriate, local community participation in
the diagnosis and follow-up interventions should be encouraged. This will allow communities to
manage their food security problems in a self sustaining way.









Table of Contents


Foreword ........


Executive Summary ..................................


I. Introduction ....................................


II. Rapid Food Security Assessments ............
II.A. General Characteristics . . . . . .
II.B. Methodology ...................
II.B.1. Sampling ................
II.B.2. Unit of Analysis ...........
II.B.3. Data Collection Techniques ....


. . . . 1. ii.


. ..... .... iii.


. . . . . . 1.


. . . . . .. 2.
....... ........... 2.
. . . . . . 24.
.. . .. .. ........... 4.
. . . . . . 5 .
. . . . ... 7.
. . . . .. 8.


III. Information Needs ................................
III.A. Household Food Security and Livelihood Security .......
III.B. Coping Strategies ...........................
III.C. Household Food Security and Environmental Degradation ..
III.D. Indicators of Household Food Security ..............
III.E. RFSAs in Conflict Areas ......................
III.F Information Relevant to Intervention Design ..........


IV. Development of Contingency Plans ......................


V. Conclusion ....................


VI. References Cited ................


Annexes
Annex 1 ....................
Annex 2 ....................
Annex 3 .....................
Annex 4 .....................
Annex 5......................


. . . . . .
. . . . . .


. . . . . .
. . . . . .


. . . . . .


. . . . . . . . .
.................
. . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . .







I. Introduction


A population's survival is contingent upon preservation of lives in the short-term, and preservation
of livelihoods in the long-term. Vulnerability to famine and food insecurity involves the risk of
exposure to periodic shocks and disaster events in the short-term that can be life threatening (e.g.,
drought, civil unrest or war, market failure), and the ability to cope with these events in the long-
term (e.g., access to alternative resources and entitlements, the effectiveness of government)
(Borton and Shoham 1991, Hutchinson 1992).

Early warning systems have done a good job since the mid-1970s in helping governments and relief
agencies target food emergencies to save lives. However, food relief only treats the short-term
dimension of vulnerability. Food emergencies recur in the same areas because long-term
vulnerability has not been addressed and livelihood strategies continue to erode.

To avoid costly relief programs and to sustain livelihoods, interventions must be designed and
implemented that protect the productive asset base and the coping ability of a given population.
Timely implementation of such interventions is tied to detection of entitlement changes at the local
level that signal worsening food security conditions. Entitlements involve how households gain
access to food from their own production, income, gathering of wild foods, community support,
claims, assets, and migration. Detecting these changes and designing appropriate responses is
contingent upon a good understanding of the socioeconomic characteristics of the target population
and their coping strategies.

Early warning systems have been effective in identifying areas that are at risk of food shortages,
but have not been very effective in describing the coping ability of different populations to these
risks. This is primarily because such systems were set up to monitor food supplies and production.
This food supply orientation has persisted because this information is the easiest to obtain and well
suited to aggregate analysis (Buchanan-Smith et al. 1991).

Although food supply information is useful for determining regional trends in food availability, it is
often too aggregated to detect pockets of vulnerability in a given area. During the food crisis in
Africa in the mid-1980s, governments and donors began to realize that food insecurity occurred in
situations where food was available but not accessible because of an erosion of people's
entitlements to food. Thus, food availability and stable access are both critical to household food
security (HFS).

Time-effective survey techniques are needed to determine the causes, dimensions, and
characteristics of the food insecurity situation in a given area to identify and implement appropriate
mitigation activities. Rapid food security assessments (RFSAs) are especially useful for this
purpose. The targeting and timing of RFSAs will be triggered by early warning systems
identifying specific geographical regions susceptible to food shortages (through vulnerability
mapping). RFSAs will be used to determine the most vulnerable groups, the causes and magnitude
of the food insecurity situation, help identify location-specific coping ability indicators for food
security monitoring, and determine appropriate mitigation interventions that will alleviate the food
deficit problem.





Famime Mitig.io Sboa~e Paper: Rapid Food Securiy Assesarme


The purpose of this paper is to describe what rapid food security assessments are and how they can
be used in famine mitigation and food security monitoring. This discussion begins with a general
overview of rapid appraisal techniques, followed by a description of types of data that should be
gathered in such assessments. Finally, this discussion focuses on the development of contingency
plans from RFSAs that encompass decentralized food security monitoring and interventions.


II. Rapid Food Security Assessments

I.A. General Characteristics
Rapid food security assessments are a type of rapid rural appraisal (RRA). RRAs employ a set of
data collection techniques adapted from social science interviews and survey methods used in
farming systems research and extension for providing comprehensive sociocultural, economic, and
ecological assessments of a given area for planning and project implementation (Molnar 1989) (see
Annex 1 and 2). They bridge the gap between formal surveys and non-structured interviewing.
RRAs are used to collect data on values, opinions, and objectives as well as on biophysical and
economic factors (Ibid 1989). They neither generate statistically sound survey information nor
provide an indepth understanding comparable to long-term qualitative research methods used by
anthropologists (Ibid 1989).

RRAs were developed because of the shortcomings of other more formal methods, which included:
1) the time lag to produce results; 2) the high cost of administering a survey; 3) the low levels of
data reliability due to interview bias and questionnaire-based errors (i.e., non-sampling errors); and
4) the irrelevance of many questions for specific implementation purposes (Molnar 1989). In
addition, formal survey methods rarely generate interdisciplinary dialogue among researchers,
planners, decision-makers, and beneficiaries.

The time lag to produce results from formal surveys is partially due to the lack of processing
capacity on the part of governments (Dixon 1992). Thus, the usefulness of information from such
surveys for mitigation programs is reduced when considerable time is required for any analysis
(Eklund 1990). Information required to help administrators make decisions becomes valueless,
however accurate, if it is provided after the decisions are made (Casley and Kumar 1988).

Other approaches used for timely assessing household food security issues for a specific area have
problems as well. For example, reliance on secondary data sources to extrapolate information for
a given area is questionable because such data tend to be biased toward major crops, accessible
areas, and dry season characterization (Dixon 1992; Chambers 1985). Such biases are problematic
in identifying and targeting vulnerable food insecure households for whom useful and accurate
information is often sparse (Dixon 1992). Short field visits or "development tourism" is also likely
to result in impressionistic reporting that is unreliable in the absence of good data (Eklund 1990;
Chambers 1985). Thus, a more systematic, time effective approach is needed.

The major objective of RRAs is to gain maximum knowledge of the target area with a minimum
amount of time and resources (Eklund 1990). The major distinguishing features of such
approaches include the following (taken from Franzel 1984):





Famiue Mtaigati Straue Paper: Rapi Food Secury Assessment


1. Interviews are conducted by researchers themselves, not by enumerators as
in formal surveys.

2. Interviews are essentially unstructured and semi-directed with emphasis on
dialogue and probing for information. Questionnaires are never used;
however, some researchers use topical guidelines to ensure that they cover
all relevant topics on a given subject.

3. Informal random and purposeful sampling procedures are used instead of
formal random sampling from a sample frame.

4. The data collection process is dynamic and interactive, that is, researchers
evaluate the data collected and reformulate data needs on a daily basis.

5. RRAs are generally conducted over a period of one week to two months.

6. To deal with accuracy/timeliness trade-off, a process of triangulation is used
whereby diverse methods and information sources are used to improve
accuracy (similar to early warning systems).

7. RRAs rely on multi-disciplinary teams to carry out surveys.


To summarize, the major advantages of RRAs are that they are: 1) rapid -- that is, results can be
made available to decision makers quickly; 2) interdisciplinary; 3) eclectic in techniques aimed at
capturing a holistic picture of the local situation; 4) rely more on open-ended interview techniques
that reduce non-sampling error; and 5) allow for valuable interaction between investigators and the
target population (Molnar 1989).

RRAs have been employed in food security monitoring as a way to provide a systematic overview
of the diet and strategies for acquiring food in the target area while using a minimum amount of
survey time and resources (Frankenberger 1990). They can be effectively used in carrying out pre-
harvest surveys and food systems inquiries in the initial stages of setting up an information system
(Davis et al. 1991). Such surveys have helped identify the critical regional food resources that
need to be sustained and managed (Valarde 1991). These surveys can also help identify food-
insecure groups in detail in order to plan food security interventions (Maxwell 1989).

In addition to being used in food security monitoring, RRAs have been used at various stages
throughout the project cycle. They can provide exploratory information (e.g., agroecosystem
analysis), be used to focus on one specific topic, involve local people in research and planning,
monitor and evaluate a research and development activity, or deal with conflicting differences
between different groups (McCracken et al. 1988; Frankenberger 1991). The focus of this paper is
primarily on how RRAs are used in rapid food security assessments and monitoring.





Famin Miigeatio StrlWge Paper: Rapid Food Security Assessent


Despite the multiple advantages of RRAs, it is important to recognize the limitations of such
approaches. Researchers cannot be certain that households interviewed in the survey are
representative of most households in the region (Frankenberger 1992). Time constraints usually do
not allow for systematic sampling procedures to be followed. Thus, RRA techniques should be
viewed as complementary to other research methodologies such as formal surveys and indepth
anthropological studies. RRAs can even be combined with the formal interview process to correct
biases. For example, random sampling procedures could be introduced halfway through field visits
once hypotheses have been identified that need to be tested (Molnar 1991).

Given time constraints, RRAs may also have trouble targeting the least visible food-insecure target
groups such as landless, rural poor, women, and isolated ethnic groups. To compensate for this,
RRA teams can focus on degraded resource areas and smaller marginal farmers while interviewing
households (Molnar 1991).

The quality of the results from an RRA depends heavily on the quality of the team and their
experience in picking up on key issues. If the confidence of the interviewed households is not
obtained, measurement or non-sampling errors will occur, especially on sensitive issues. For this
reason, adequate training in RRA interview techniques is necessary to ensure that the team collects
accurate data.

The major intention of RRAs used in food security monitoring is to allow researchers to understand
the diversity of food procurement strategies and corresponding constraints that are distributed
within a given target area. This will enable the team to identify the most vulnerable populations,
the extent of the food security problems and their causes, and possible interventions. Once this
diversity and complexity are understood, specific villages can be selected which are representative
of a wider array of villages so that further diagnoses and community-based interventions can be
carried out. It is at this point that participatory rural appraisals should be conducted.

Participatory rural appraisals (PRA) also involve multidisciplinary teams that gather HFS
information in a systematic, yet semi-structured, way; however, they tend to focus on one village
rather than the region; and community participation is considerably more active (WRI 1989). PRA
is intended to help communities mobilize their human and natural resources to define problems,
consider successes, evaluate local capacities, prioritize opportunities, prepare a systematic and site
specific plan of action, and a means for facilitating community self-help initiatives (Ibid 1989). It
brings together the development needs as defined by the community with the resources and
technical skills offered by the government, donor agencies and NGOs. Although some of the
techniques used in PRA are applicable in RRAs, this review will primarily focus on RRAs.


II.B. Methodology
A systematic way for determining where to conduct rapid food security assessments is to develop
vulnerability maps (Hutchinson 1992). In countries where national early warning systems already
exist (e.g., crop forecasting, food balance sheets, nutrition surveillance), information supplied by
these systems can help develop vulnerability maps for each region. Vulnerability maps are maps
which identify the areas and sectors of the population that are most vulnerable to food insecurity.
These maps highlight the regions that need to be monitored more closely, and identify factors to





Famine Mtgation Sweg Paper: Rapid Food Securiy Assessment


take into consideration in designing interventions for vulnerable areas (Borton and Shoham 1991).
An earlier version of vulnerability mapping used in the 1970s was "functional classification" of
under-nourished populations as a basis for food and nutrition planning (Joy 1973). Pioneering
efforts in vulnerability/risk mapping have also been carried out in Bangladesh and Sudan under
WPF support (Borton and Shoham 1991). In addition, the USAID4funded Famine Early Warning
Systems project has contributed significantly to this conceptual development (Downing 1990).

Vulnerability to food insecurity is an aggregate measure for a given population of the risk of
exposure to different types of shocks (e.g., drought) or disaster events (war, market failures) and
the ability to cope with these events (Borton and Shoham 1991) (see Matrix 1). Mapping
vulnerability involves assessing the baseline vulnerability (the contextual factors encompassing food
insecurity events over the previous years), current vulnerability (the shocks overlying the
baseline), and future vulnerability (trends associated with long-term food security risks (Hutchinson
1992, Frankenberger 1992).

Vulnerability maps have great potential for national governments and donors in assisting with
decisions regarding the allocation of resources across regions. The development of such maps
could ideally be a first step in identifying districts or subregions where more location-specific HFS
information is necessary to collect for designing appropriate interventions. Rapid food security
assessment teams would be used for this purpose. Decentralized HFS monitoring systems could
then be developed in these designated areas.

The approach for carrying out a RFSA is outlined in detail in Annex 3. The general procedure
followed in most surveys involves: 1) reviewing secondary data to familiarize the team with the
sociocultural, economic, and ecological attributes of the survey area; 2) relying on detailed open-
ended interview guides to ensure that pertinent issues are covered (minimum data sets); 3) making
use of group, individual household, and key informant interviews to gather information about the
local situation; 4) carrying out the survey in a time-effective manner; 5) using triangulation
whereby diverse methods and information sources are used to improve accuracy; 6) relying on
extensive team interaction to maintain a multidisciplinary perspective; and 7) providing immediate
feedback to decision makers after the completion of the survey (Molnar 1989; Eklund 1990).

To encourage interdisciplinary team interaction, team members ideally split up into pairs during
each day of the field visit, rotating the composition of the pairs so that each discipline interacts
with all of the others on a one-on-one basis (Molnar 1989; Hildebrand 1981). The team members
also meet regularly as a whole to redefine their objectives, discuss emerging hypotheses, and make
decisions about scheduling. This interactive procedure remains more of a principle than a reality
due to the difficulty of implementing this under actual field conditions (Molnar 1989).

II.B.1. Sampling: One of the most controversial areas concerning RFSAs is the sampling
procedure used in selecting villages and households. Qualitative techniques are criticized because
they do not generate statistically sound survey data (Molnar 1989). Formal sampling procedures
reduce the chances that investigators will pick a certain set of individuals over another, coming out
with a skewed impression of the local situation (Ibid 1989). However, structured surveys using
formal sampling techniques are criticized because many feel that what is gained in the reduction of





Matrix 1

HOUSEHOLD VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENT MATRIX

Risk of an Event Ability to Cope

Shocks/Trends HH Characteristics Access to Resources Production/Income Support Structures
Opportunities

Baseline Vulnerability
Crop Production and Livestock Risks composition access to land crop/livestock community support
drought episodes (age dependency access to labor production mechanisms (claims)
soil conditions ratio) liquid assets other income sources NGOs
pest Infestations education productive assets seasonal migration government policies
Market Risks health status credit access to social
market Infrastructure out migration common property services
price fluctuations (assets, food. resources (for wild
cash crops, livestock) foods and other
food shortages products)
access to employment food stores
Political Risks
conflict/war

Current Vulnerability
Crop Production and Livestock Risks composition access to land croplivestock community support
current drought (age dependency access to labor production mechanisms (claims)
pest attack ratio) liquid assets other income sources NGOs
Market Risks education productive assets seasonal migration government policies
market infrastructure health status credit access to social
price fluctuations (assets. food. outmlgration common property services
cash crops. livestock) resources (wild
food shortages foods and other
access to employment products)
Political Risks food stores
conflict/war

Future Vulnerability (trends)
Environmental demographic land tenure employment support structure
Degradation changes changes trends changes
PO Land Pressure
Out Migration Frankenberge. 1992





Famine Miigation Sbategy Paper. Rapid Food Security Assessment


random sampling error is lost through non-sampling error. Non-sampling errors are derived from
poorly worded questions, poor choice of question order, lack of sufficient attention to the context,
and the timing of the interview (Ibid 1989). As Molnar (1989) states, "Random sampling gains the
researcher nothing if the interviews selected through the random process are poorly conducted."

Even in situations where formal sampling procedures are desired, they may be difficult to
implement. To draw a good sample, the first thing required is a good sampling frame.
Unfortunately, in many rural areas where HFS problems exist, sampling frames are not easy to
come by, or they are inaccurate and incomplete (Eklund 1990).

RFSAs normally use purposive sampling techniques in the selection of villages to interview people
of different classes, ethnicity, age, gender, and with different access to resources (Molnar 1989).
Because they attempt to gain maximum knowledge of the target area with a minimum amount of
time and resources, they are primarily exploratory tools that rely on small samples to understand
processes of change (Eklund 1990). RFSA seeks to understand the systematic relationships
between components in a household's livelihood system and what likely effect interventions may
have on these (Ibid 1990). Precise point estimates of yields and production parameters are not the
major objective. Smaller samples are justified because "the deeper one wants to probe the
intricacies of a phenomena, the smaller has to be the size of the sample" (Puetz 1992). Non-
sampling error is reduced through indepth, open-ended interviews (Molnar 1989).

To correct the bias of purposive sampling, a number of techniques have been used. Through
stratification, the less visible target groups are represented and the more remote agroecological
zones are visited. The seasonal aspect of food insecurity can be taken into account by ensuring
that surveys are carried out during the wet season when food shortages are likely to occur
(Longhurst 1987). Random sampling procedures may also be used in selecting individual
households (Eklund 1990). A minimum number of randomly selected observations will permit
statistical inference to the to the households in the village, even though the sample will not be
representative of the population in the area (Ibid 1990). This will allow for some exploration of
relationships between variables upon which data are collected. Some survey teams will also follow
up informal RFSAs with small formal surveys to test the hypotheses emergency from the RFSA
(Molnar 1989).

Decisions on sampling will be influenced as much by cost and time considerations as by the
required precision in estimators (Eklund 1990). Other factors to take into account are the size of
the population to which one wants to generalize, the heterogeneity of the population, the number of
subgroups within the population, and how accurate one wants the sample statistics to be (Bernard
1988). There will always be a trade-off between greater accuracy and greater economy in
sampling. Although the degree of accuracy may be reduced, smaller, more cost-effective samples
will still provide administrators some notion of the trends that are occurring in the area (Eklund
1990).

II.B.2. Unit of Analysis: In rural surveys, the choice of the unit of analysis can be a problem
(Drinkwater 1992). In many surveys, the most common measurement units are the village and the
household. However in many areas, households are not always easily identifiable entities. This
problem is often addressed in RFSAs by operationalizing the household unit as including only those





Famine Milgaton Srategy Paper: Rapid Food Secrity Aessment


people who eat out of the same pot. This procedure delineates the main consumption unit but does
not adequately capture the other social and resource relationships that are so vital to food security.
Thus in RFSAs, we should also collect information on the cluster of relationships in which people
in the village are imbedded to understand the social buffering mechanisms that characterize the
village. Cluster analysis allows the RFSA team to understand the informal resource exchanges that
constitute a vital part of people's livelihood strategies (Drinkwater 1992).

II.B.3. Data Collection Techniques: In most RFSA exercises, a number of different types of
open-ended interviews are conducted. These are summarized below.


Group Interviews











Focus Group Interviews





Key Informant Interviews






Household Interviews


Group interviews are conducted to provide village-wide information
on infrastructure, land tenure arrangements, sources of credit,
marketing, typical labor arrangements, and government programs in
the area. These interviews allow the team to collect data on area-
specific trends in resource endowments, cultivation practices, and
market access which raises considerably the value of information
obtained from individual households (Eklund 1990). Such inquiries
could be carried out when the team first meets with the villagers.
Trends to focus on would include land use, rainfall variation, yields,
and grazing patterns.

Focus group interviews can be used to gain in-depth information
about particular issues (Molnar 1989). Interviews are conducted
with homogeneous groups of local people to obtain different
perspectives from different types of villagers (landless, women,
herders, etc.).

Good background information about the area can be obtained from
knowledgeable personnel such as local government officials,
extension personnel, school teachers, and other resource persons in
the area. These resource persons can provide the team the local
knowledge categories so that inquiries are understandable and
appropriate.

It is useful to interview the whole family, not just the male members
of the households. This is because one member cannot speak
accurately for all the rest (Molnar 1989). Women have different
knowledge and opinions than men, and are the most familiar with
local cultural categories, time intervals, and measurement. Women
also are more likely to know more about harvest quantities,
processing values, storage losses, and consumption patterns. If
possible, both the husband and wife should be available for the
interview. In addition, women-headed households should be
included in the survey sample. In many countries, women are
primarily responsible for the food security of the household.





Famine Miatgatt Strate Paper: Rapid Food Security Asessment


Interviews conducted with households should be done away from the
rest of the village to avoid biased answers.

In addition to conducting interviews, RFSAs use other techniques to gather information on food
security issues. Interactive data gathering tools can be used to elicit people's perceptions of
resources, constraints, social relations, wealth distribution, seasonal trends, and selection criteria.
For example, diagrams have been used effectively to stimulate questions and responses, allowing
the household's knowledge to be made more explicit (Conway 1989). Diagrams can simplify
complex information, making it easier to communicate and analyze. Five different types of
diagrams derived from agroecosystems analysis are often used. Maps are used to identify different
parts of the farm or village and its relation to basic resources and land forms. Transects tend to be
drawn by survey teams that walk from the highest point to the lowest point in the immediate
environment accompanied by the local people. Consulting people in each zone, transects can help
identify major household food security problems and opportunities in the agroecosystem and where
they are located (Conway 1989). Calendars are used to indicate seasonal features and changes and
are useful for allowing farmers to identify critical times in the crop production cycle with regard to
changes in climate, cropping patterns, labor access, food procurement strategies, diet, and prices
(Ibid 1989). Flow diagrams are used to present events in a cycle of production, marketing, and
consumption. Venn diagrams can be used to understand the institutional relationships in a village.
Such information could be critical to understanding the informal social mechanisms (e.g., claims)
that buffer households from periodic shocks.

Ranking and scoring exercises elicit people's own criteria and judgements (Chambers 1985).
These exercises can be used in wealth ranking of households as well as for determining selection
criteria for crop varieties and coping strategies.

Although these interactive data-gathering tools are extremely valuable for eliciting more indepth
information on food security issues, they are often very time consuming to carry out. Most of
these techniques are more likely to be used in participatory rural appraisal (PRA) exercises which
provide guidance to community-based interventions. Recognizing the value of these techniques,
RFSA teams should use them if time permits.


m. Information Needs

III.A. Household Food Security and Livelihood Security
To determine what types of data are necessary to collect in a RFSA, we must identify the factors
that contribute to food-insecure situations for households. Food security is defined by the World
Bank (1986) as "access by all people at all times to enough food for an active and healthy life."
Operationalizing the concept at the national level is not the same as at the household level. At the
national level, food security entails adequate food supplies through local production and food
imports. However, adequate availability of food at the national level does not necessarily translate
into even distribution across the country, nor equal access among all households.






Figure 1. Conceptual Framework for Household Food Security


Availability Stable Access I



Storage. Conservation
Processing


Sufficient Viable Enviromenm l
Local Supply Houshold Susainabiliy Social Susinbliy
(pur.d l saeai Procurement
4 PPsivd Ilo ad)
--- -I I ,, ', i


Acclp" Itab ilI .l,-,l I sl-n II'rqc






Cultural Food Nutritional
Acceptability Safety Adequacy





Famine Mitgaotid S&ragW Paper: Rapid Food Securi Assessmet


In the past 15 years, much conceptual progress has been made in our understanding of the
processes that lead to food insecure situations for households (Frankenberger 1992). We have
moved away from simplistic notions of food supply being the only cause of household food
insecurity to assessing vulnerability of particular groups in terms of their access to food. Thus,
food availability at the national and regional level and stable access are both keys to household
food security (see Figure 1). Access to food is determined by food entitlements which may include
viable means for procuring food (either produced or purchased), human and physical capital, assets
and stores, access to common property resources, and a variety of social contracts at the
household, community, and state level (Maxwell et al. 1992). The risk of entitlement failure
determines the level of vulnerability of a household to food insecurity (Ibid 1992). The greater the
share of resources devoted to food acquisition, the higher the vulnerability of the household to food
insecurity.

Households are food-secure when their livelihoods are sustainable. A livelihood comprises the
adequate stocks and flows of food and cash to meet basic needs (Chambers 1989). It is made up of
a range of on-farm and off-farm activities which together provide a variety of procurement sources
for food and cash (Drinkwater and McEwan 1992). Thus, each household can have several
possible sources of entitlement which constitute its livelihood (Ibid 1992). These entitlements are
based on the endowments that a household has, and its position in the legal, political, and social
fabric of society (Ibid 1992).

A livelihood is sustainable, according to Chambers and Conway (1992), when it "can cope with
and recover from stress and shocks, maintain its capability and assets, and provide sustainable
livelihood opportunities for the next generation..." (cited in Drinkwater 1992). Unfortunately, not
all household livelihoods are equitable in their ability to cope with stress and shocks. Under such
conditions, household food security for some households may be threatened.

Poor people balance competing needs for asset preservation, income generation, and present and
future food supplies in complex ways (Maxwell et al. 1992). People may go hungry up to a point
to meet another objective. For example, DeWaal (1989) found during the 1984-85 famine in
Darfur, Sudan that people chose to go hungry to preserve their assets and future livelihoods.
People will put up with a considerable degree of hunger to preserve seed for planting, cultivate
their own fields, or avoid selling animals (Maxwell et al. 1992). Similarly, Corbett (1988) found
that in the sequential ordering of behavioral responses employed in periods of stress in a number of
African and Asian countries, preservation of assets takes priority over meeting immediate needs
until the point of destitution (Corbett 1988 cited in Maxwell et al. 1992).

Given the importance of livelihood security to households in risk prone areas, risk avoidance and
entitlement protection must be addressed in any proposed interventions. To do this effectively,
RFSA teams must understand the coping strategies households use to protect their livelihoods.


III.B. Coping Strategies
Households do not respond arbitrarily to variability in food supply. People who live in conditions
that put their main source of income at recurrent risk will develop self-insurance coping strategies
to minimize risks to their HFS and livelihoods (Longhurst 1986; Corbett 1988). Examples of such





Famine Miigatio Straeg Paper: Rapid Food Security Assessent


strategies are dispersed grazing, changes in cropping and planting practices, migration to towns in
search of urban employment, increased petty commodity production, collection of wild foods, use
of inter-household transfers and loans, use of credit from merchants and money lenders, migration
to other areas for employment, rationing of current food consumption, sale of possessions (e.g.,
jewelry), sale of firewood and charcoal, consumption of food distributed through relief programs,
sale of productive assets, breakup of the household, and distress migration (Corbett 1988 cited in
Frankenberger and Goldstein 1992). In general, coping strategies are pursued by households to
ensure future income-generating capacity (i.e., livelihood) rather than simply maintaining current
levels of food consumption (Corbett 1988; DeWaal 1988; Haddad et al. 1991). These strategies
will vary by region, community, social class, ethnic group, household gender, age, and season
(Chambers 1989; Thomas et al. 1989). The types of strategies employed by households will also
vary depending upon the severity and duration of the potentially disruptive conditions (Thomas et
al. 1989).

In analyzing varieties of coping strategies, it is important to distinguish two types of assets that
farmers have at their disposal. Assets that represent stores of value for liquidation (liquid assets)
are acquired during non-crisis years as a form of savings and self-insurance; these may include
small livestock or personal possessions such as jewelry (Corbett 1988; Frankenberger and
Goldstein 1992). A second set of assets are those that play a key role in generating income
(productive assets). These are less liquid as stores of value and are much more costly to farm
household in their disposal. Households will first dispose of assets held as stores of value before
disposing of productive assets (Corbett 1988). A household's access to assets is often a good
determinant of its vulnerability (Chambers 1989; Swift 1989a).

Swift has also identified claims as another type of asset used by households to assure their food
security. Claims refer to the ability of households to activate community support mechanisms.
Claims also may encompass government support mechanisms or the international donor community
(Borton and Shoham 1991).

Most initial responses to actual or potential food shortages are extension of practices conducted in
some measure during normal years to adapt to rainfall variability (Longhurst 1986; Watts 1988).
Traditional methods of handling risk can be divided into routine risk-minimizing practices and loss
management mechansms (Walker and Jodha 1986). Risk-minimizing practices are adjustments to
production and resource use before and during a production season. These involve such practices
as diversification of resources and enterprises, and adjustments within cropping systems. Crop-
centered diversification can include choice of crop with varying maturation periods, different
sensitivities to environmental fluctuations, and flexible end use products (Ibid 1986). Farmers also
will reduce production risks by exploiting vertical, horizontal, and temporal dimensions of the
natural resource base. Vertical adjustments involve planting at different elevations in a
topographical sequence. Spatial risk-adjustments include planting in different micro-environments
or intercropping. Temporal risk adjustments involve staggering planting times (Ibid 1986).
Adjustments also may include extension of farming to marginal areas or overuse of a particular
plot; practices that can have a destructive effect on the natural environment.











Famine Miigation Stratey Paper: Rapid Food Secwity Assessment


Figure 2


High










Commitment
of
Domestic
Resources









Low


Low











Reversibility










High


Time of Occurence

A Model of Responses to Food Shortage


Later


(Adapted from Watts, 1988)


Permanent Outmigration

Selling Land

Migrating for AID

Pledging Land

Sale of Domestic Assets
/
Borrowing Grain or Cash from Merchant

Selling Livestock

Dry Season Farming (Migration)

Migrating for Wage Work
/
Sell Labor Power
/
Using Stored Foods
Borrow Grain from Kin
Use of amine goods
Use of Famine Foods


Earlier





Famine Mitigation Sregy Paper: Rapid Food Security Assessment


Loss management mechanisms include farmers' responses to lower-than-expected crop production
caused by natural hazards (Ibid 1986). Reductions in crop production can be compensated for
through non-farm income, the sale of assets, the management of stocks and reserves, seasonal
migration, and reciprocal obligations among households. Overexploitation of certain resources
(forest reserves, for example) for market sale also may be part of this loss management strategy.

In communities marked by landholding and income inequalities, household responses occur
differently along the lines of wealth and access to resources (Longhurst 1986; Tobert 1985).
Identical climatic conditions can affect households of varied economic levels to different degrees.
Seasonal shortages for some families produce famine conditions for others. Poorer households,
including many women-headed households, having smaller holdings and a weaker resource base,
are more vulnerable to stress than are wealthier households, and begin to suffer earlier when food
shortages hit (Frankenberger and Goldstein 1990). The poor resort to early sales of livestock,
pledge farms, incur debt, sell labor, and borrow grain at higher interest rates (Watts 1988). In
essence, crop failures and other shocks reveal rather than cause the fragile nature of HFS among
vulnerable rural families. At the same time, prosperous households buy livestock at deflated prices
in conditions of oversupply, sell or lend grain to needy farmers, purchase wage labor at depressed
rates, and purchase land (Watts 1988). Thus, during a food crisis, a cycle of accumulation and
decapitalization can occur simultaneously within a single community, depending on the depth of the
current crisis.

Patterns of coping strategies can be diagramed to show the sequence of responses farm households
typically employ when faced with a food crisis (Figure 2, Watts 1988). These sequences of
response are most frequently divided in the literature into three distinct stages (Corbett 1988). In
the earliest stages of a food crisis (stage one), households employ the types of risk-minimizing and
loss-management strategies discussed above. These typically involve a low commitment of
domestic resources, enabling speedy recovery once the crisis has eased. As the crisis persists,
households are increasingly forced into greater commitment of resources just to meet subsistence
needs (stage two). There may be a gradual disposal of key productive assets, making it harder to
return to a pre-crisis state. At this stage, a household's vulnerability to food insecurity is
extremely high. Stage three strategies are signs of failure to cope with the food crisis and usually
involve destitution and distress migration (Corbett 1988).

Recent studies have found that the range of coping strategies pursued by farm families in drought-
prone areas may be changing over time (Downing 1988; Thomas et al. 1989). Three major trends
appear to be developing. First, risk minimizing agricultural strategies appear to be narrowing in
some locations (e.g., in Kenya) as repeated sale and reacquisition have depleted domestic and
productive asset levels (Frankenberger and Goldstein 1992). In these areas, agricultural coping
strategies are being replaced by strategies that diversify income sources through off-farm
employment and non-agricultural production (Mead 1988; Swinton 1988). Some of these non-farm
strategies include practices that are known to be environmentally damaging, but that provide a last
resort in crisis conditions. Second, strategies that relied on social support and reciprocity for
overcoming food deficits are eroding due to the integration of individual households into the cash
economy (Thomas et al. 1989). Third. a shift has been observed in the responsibility for coping
with drought from the individual household and local community toward the national government






Famin Mipgadio Stragy Paper: Rapid Food Securi Assessment


through drought and famine relief programs (Frankenberger 1990). This trend is due in large part
to the reduction in response flexibility of small farm households (Frankenberger and Goldstein
1992).


III.C. Household Food Security and Environmental Degradation
Although coping strategies may be seen in the short term as functional adaptations to uncertain
conditions and hence beneficial, some commonly practiced strategies may have dire consequences
for the natural environment in the long run (Frankenberger and Goldstein 1992). Particularly for
poorer farmers with limited resource endowments, the process of maintaining household viability
may be exacted at the expense of the natural surroundings. Poor people often occupy ecologically
vulnerable areas such as marginal drylands, tropical forests and hilly areas (Davis et al. 1991). As
drought conditions worsen and conditions of food insecurity persist, the range of options available
to resource-poor farmers becomes more limited and inflexible. In such situations, questions of
long-term environmental sustainability become secondary. Day-to-day survival demands the use of
any food procurement strategy available.

The exploitation of common property resources (CPRs) is particularly important for resource-poor
farmers for meeting household food security needs. Wild leaves, roots, grains, bushmeat, and
forest products provide additional food sources, buffer seasonal shortages, and provide alternative
sources of income (Davis et al. 1991). These resources are relied upon heavily during times of
stress (Jodha 1986). Therefore, the degradation of CPRs and loss through the encroachment of
privatized agriculture has disproportionately affected the food security of the poor (Davis et al.
1991).

Women are often more vulnerable to the effects of environmental degradation than men because
they are often more involved in the collection of common property resources (Davis et al. 1991).
Since women often make a greater contribution to household food security than men, a decline in
women's access to resources may have a significant impact on the nutritional status of the
household.

Coping strategies that may promote environmental degradation include cutting trees to make
charcoal, over-harvesting of wild foods, over-grazing of grasslands, and increased planting in
marginal areas. All of these strategies may degrade soil conditions and augment problems of soil
erosion (Norman 1991). Farmers often realize the damage their actions have on the environment
upon which their livelihood depends. However, as drought conditions worsen and food insecurity
persists, the range of options becomes limited to such desperation strategies.

Thus, vulnerability to food insecurity usually means vulnerability to environmental degradation.
However, development activities attempting to pursue both household food security and
environmental objectives must consider the short- and long-term trade-offs associated with these
dual objectives. Long-term sustainable, natural resource management initiatives will not be
successful if they ignore the short-term food security needs of the local population. Likewise,
sustainability will be compromised if long-term environmental concerns are sacrificed for
immediate food needs. For development goals to be achieved, a balance must be struck between
these two objectives.






Famie Mk igeiu Sregy Paper: Rapid Food Securiy Auassm


II.D. Indicators of Household Food Security
As stated earlier, food availability and stable access are both critical to HFS. For this reason, any
RFSA must gather both food supply/production data and access/entitlement data from a targeted
area (see Annex 4). Vulnerability to food insecurity is location-specific, therefore, indicators are
needed that measure supply and food entitlement changes at the local level.

A number of different indicators can be used for delineating HFS. These can be divided into
process indicators that reflect both food supply and food access, and outcome indicators which
serve as proxies for food consumption (Frankenberger 1992) (see Matrix 2). Indicators that reflect
food supply include inputs and measures of agricultural production (agrometeorological data),
access to natural resources, institutional development and market infrastructure (prices), and
exposure to regional conflict and its consequences. Most of these data may already be available
through secondary sources and be aggregated into the vulnerability maps. Indicators that reflect
food access are the various means or strategies used by households to meet their HFS needs.
These strategies will vary by region, community, social class, ethnic group, household, gender,
and season. Thus, their use as indicators is location-specific (see below). These coping ability
indicators are normally not available for use in vulnerability maps and have to be collected through
RFSAs. Outcome indicators can be grouped into direct and indirect indicators. Direct indicators
of food consumption include those that are closest to actual food consumption rather than marketing
channel information or medical status (e.g., household consumption surveys). Indirect indicators
are generally used when direct indicators are either unavailable or too costly (in terms of time and
money) to collect (e.g., storage estimates, nutritional status assessments).

As indicators that reflect food access, the generalized patterns of coping strategies find practical
application as tools for local food security monitoring (Frankenberger and Goldstein 1992).
Building upon the work of the World Food Program (WFP), there are three types of indicators that
can be monitored for changing coping responses, thus suggesting worsening conditions and
heightened food insecurity. Leading indicators (WFP refers to these as early indicators) are
changes in conditions and -responses prior to the onset of decreased food access. Examples of such
indicators are: 1) crop failures (due to inadequate rainfall, poor access to seed and other inputs,
pest damage, etc.; 2) sudden deterioration of rangeland conditions or conditions of livestock (e.g.,
unusual migration movements, unusual number of animal deaths, large numbers of young female
animals being offered for sale); 3) significant deterioration in local economic conditions (e.g.,
increases in the price of grain, unseasonal disappearance of essential food stuffs, increases in
unemployment among laborers and artisans, unusual low levels of household foodstocks; and 4)
significant accumulation of livestock by some households (due to depressed prices caused by
oversupply). Leading indicators assessed through vulnerability mapping can provide signs of an
impending problem and may call for a RFSA to determine the extent of the problem, causes, and
need for monitoring. These indicators are a combination of process indicators dealing with both
availability and access vulnerability (Frankenberger 1992).

Concurrent indicators (WFP calls these stress indicators) occur simultaneously with decreased
access to food. Examples of such indicators are: 1) a large number of able-bodied family members
in search of food or work; 2) appearance in the market of unusual amounts of personal and capital









Matrix 2

HOUSEHOLD FOOD SECURITY INDICATORS

Indicator Availability Sources of Informalion Measurement Level o Limitation
and Collecion Method Aggregation


Food Supply Indlcators
MfefoorologIf eDale
(rainfall)



Inlomurafon on
NafurIt Resources
(includes grazing resources)


Agricullurl Production
Daes (crops and
animals)


Agrecologlel Mokde


Food Baence Sheeos




hfrenmwlo on DeAmagee

Market Inlermllon
(prices)


/Mgwnl Constol


readily government reports
available monitoring stations
satellite remote
sensing

readily periodic assessments
available government. NGOs
salteite imagery
government and
donor studies

readily government reports
available crop cutting on sample
plate
remote sensing
farmer reports

not readily montorng stations
available soil assessments

readily secondary sources
available government reports



moderately field assessments
available government reports

readily price data
available market surveys


not readily key informants
available NGOs


cumulative amount/average
change from average
onsel


dekedal values
dekadal value/previous
dekadal
dekadal average/long-term
dekadal average
seasonal kgAcapla
departure from average
hg/caphta
% change from past years

FAO Crop Speclic Soil
Water Balance Model

production-consumption
requirements (opening stocks.
production. imports, domestic per
capital requirements, exports and
closing stocks)
seasonal kge/apa for crope
% of change from last year
value of crop prices, livestock
prices
monthly valuelaverage
monthly value or previous year
o of incidents
influx of refugees


national
regional
district


national
regional
district


national
regional
dielsrtl


national
regional
district

national
regional



national
regional
national
regional

local

regional
local


number of
stations
timing of rains
may be false
indicator

access to remote
sensing



amiled Information
on other crops
beeldeoa elple


computer
capability for
analysis

underestimate
nontraded
crops


frequency of
assessment
Interpretation of
sales and pnce


colkcion ol data
in conflict zone


Frankenberger. 1992









Indicator

Food Access (Effectlve
Demand or Entitlement)
Risk Miknimring
Strategkes

land use practices

diversification of
livestock


Los MAanagement
Straegltes
dietary change (both
quantitatve and
qualitative)

change ol food source



divrsilication of
income sources



aocse to loansacrdil


livestock sales


seasonal migration


sale of production
assets


distress migration


HOUSEHOLD FOOD SECURITY INDICATORS
(continued)

Availability Sources of Inlormation Measurement Level of Limitation
and Collection Method Aggregation


limited

limited





limited



limited


Ilmled
limited




limited


available


limited


limited




limited


RRA
normal surveys

RRA
formal surveys




RRA
HH surveys
in-depth interviews

RRA
HH surveys


RRA
HH surveys



RRA
HH surveys

market surveys
secondary data

RRA
HH surveys

RRA
HH surveys



RRA
HH surveys
government records
NGOs


changes in crop mix
changes in time of planting

changes in livestock mix
early movement to
alternative range
* animal deaths


reduction in I of meals
decreased dietary diversity
shifts from preferred to lower
status food

Increased dependence on
wild foods
* of HH dependent on reserves
grain price increases
changes in petty marketing
pattern
changes in wage rates
increase I of HH seeking af-farm
employment
Increase o people seeking
assistance Irom relatives
a of people seeking credit

increase sale of livestock/season
decline cf livestock prices

large I of people migrating for
work

appearance in market of unusual
amounts of personal and capital
goods (jewelry, farm implements.
dralt animals)
sale ol young female animals

# of whole families moving out
of area


HHUilage

HHivagoe





HHvilage.





HHNlage

HH~Ivage




HHNMage


national
regional
local

village
HH

village
HH



regional
village
HH


location speciliu

location specific





location specific



location specific



location pecific




location specific


location specific


location specific


location specific




location specific


Frankenberger, 1992






HOUSEHOLD FOOD SECURITY INDICATORS
(continued)

Indicator Availability Sources of Information Measurement Level ol Limiaion
and Colection Method Aggregation

Outcome Indicators


Direct Indlcors
household budge
and consumplton
surveys
household perception
of food insecurly


blood frequency
assessments


Indrecf hdkilor
storage estimates




subsistence potential
ratio



household food
security card


nutritional status
assessments


limited


imied


lmited


limited




readily
available



limited


readily
available


national surveys


RRA
in-depth interviews


HH surveys
24-hr recall


HH surveys
RRA



HH surveys




HH surveys


government health
department
formal surveys
anthropometric
measures


price per unit of blood or
caloric per unit of food
conversion factors/capita

a of months of sel provisioning
from household production and
receipt of in-kind as perceived
by the household

* of meals per day
* and types of ingredients in meals
I of limes per day a nutrient-poor
gruel was served as main meal


a of months food stores will last as
perceived by the HH



size of farm. expected yield and ago
and sex composition of household
Amount of food produced/food
required

food available from main crop
compared to HH requirements
on monthly basis


weightage
height/age
weightheight
arm circumference


national
regional
district

vilge
HH



village
HM


village
HH




HH



village
HH


national
regional
local


high cost


local population
may distort data



dificull to
aggregate at
regional or
national level
limited level of
precision
culturally spedic

difficull to obtain
due to cultural
beliefs
difficult to
aggregate

diffcul to
aggregate
assumes all farm
land used for
food production
only useful In
areas where
most food is
grown by the
household

nutritional status
influenced by
sanitary condi-
tions, care
age assessment
question




Frankenberger. 1992





Famie MigaOeo Srategy Paper Rapid Food Secrity Aessesnt


goods, such as jewelry, farm implements, livestock (draft animals); 3) unusual increases in land
sales or mortgages; 4) increases in the number of people seeking credit; 5) increased dependence
on wild foods; 6) reduction in the number of meals; and 7) increased reliance on interhousehold
exchanges. Concurrent indicators can be assessed while carrying out a RFSA. These indicators
are primarily access/entitlement related. Once the nature and extent of the problems have been
confirmed, interventions can be introduced that focus on the causes or mitigate the effects.

Trailing indicators (WFP calls these late outcome indicators) occur after food access has declined.
They reflect the extent to which the well being of particular households and communities have been
affected. In addition to signs of malnutrition and high rates of morbidity and mortality, trailing
indicators include increased land degradation, land sales, consumption of seed stocks and
permanent outmigration. All of these indicators are signs that the household has failed to cope
with the food crisis (Frankenberger and Goldstein 1992).

An understanding of farmer coping strategies can be essential in guiding the design and
implementation of interventions to increase HFS. As Figure 3 illustrates, the types of coping
strategies employed by households not only indicate household vulnerability to food shortage, but
also correspond to different types of government and donor responses. Household coping
strategies that do not involve divestment normally indicate moderate vulnerability, and
government/donor response is more appropriately oriented toward longer-term development efforts.
Such responses can be targeted to enhance the long-term sustainability of HFS, especially in those
areas where vulnerability is likely to increase. In regions where divestment is beginning to occur,
household vulnerability becomes high and mitigation should be considered the appropriate
response. Mitigative interventions are those that: 1) abate the impacts of the current emergency
while reducing vulnerability to future emergencies; 2) target the conservation of productive assets
at the household level; and 3) reinforce and build upon existing patterns of coping (Hutchinson
1991). In areas where productive asset sales and permanent outmigration have begun to occur, the
population is extremely vulnerable to famine. Such indices would call for immediate relief action
on the part of the government and donors. Thus, an appropriately designed HFS monitoring
system could be flexible enough to serve all three purposes. Presently most Early Warning
Systems operating in Africa are only used for food aid planning (i.e., the relief function)
(Hutchinson 1992).

Given their usefulness in identifying vulnerable households, it is important to also recognize the
limitations of these food access indicators. First, socioeconomic variables mean different things in
different contexts (Borton and York 1987). Researchers and development practitioners should
understand the locational specificity of socioeconomic variables so that they are not misinterpreted.
Second, the raw data used as indicators can be misleading. Hesse (1987) demonstrated that
regional livestock market data from Mali could easily be misunderstood because individuals were
buying and selling the same stock repeatedly in the same day. Thus, the quality of the data needs
to be properly validated before being incorporated into a monitoring system. Third, without a
baseline for determining what is "normal" behavior for a given population, it is difficult to make
valid interpretations of trends displayed by indicators (Borton and York 1987). Fourth, given the
locational specificity of socioeconomic indicators, it is difficult to make comparisons across
regions, or to aggregate the data.





Famsie MiAcWtio StraUW Paper. Rapid Food Security Assessmet


Figure 3



Crop & Livstock Adjusuments
Diet change
L F I. Famine food use
Grain loan from kin







U I






bor sOuuniaes (mgraton)tion


TiSmall animal sales

HOUSEHOLD STi CaATEGIE

Adaptation Desmecnt ht
Di change borrowing. Liquid Productive
seasonal labor migrauon asset assets
----------Time --------










HOUSEHOLD VULNERABILITY

Moderate


Extreme


DONOR RESPONSES

Development
SMitition -
Relief


Responses to household food shortages (after Watts, 1983)
The types of coping strategies employed by households indicate
household vulnerability to food shortage, and correspond to
different types of government and donor responses
Office of Arid Lands Studies, The University of Arizona,1991.





Famine Miigaion Stratey Paper Rapid Food Securit Assessment


To minimize inaccuracies derived from the use of socioeconomic indicators, multiple indicators
should be used whenever possible. The convergence of evidence will instill confidence in those
agencies responsible for addressing food security problems. In addition, attempts should be made
to pre-test indicators to determine whether local factors may distort an indicator's validity and
reliability (Haddad et al. 1991). Efforts also should be made to limit food access indicators to a
manageable number. Haddad et al. (1991) have provided an excellent summary of these indicators
(See Annex 5).


HI.E. RFSAs in Conflict Areas
In food-insecure regions plagued by conflict, RFSAs will collect additional types of information.
Such information will include the geographical delineation of conflict zones, level of violence and
kind (i.e., targeted or passive), freedom of movement, condition of access to conflict zones,
existence and organizational capabilities of local non-governmental institutions, existence and
activities of partisan (i.e., governmental and rebel) organizations involved in humanitarian relief
and rehabilitation, physical resources and availability for famine mitigation actions (i.e., logistical
resources, supply and storage facilities, operational facilities), and planned interventions by national
governments, international, private, and voluntary organizations, and coordination structure to be
used (e.g., who will coordinate which activities by who for whond (Frankenberger 1991).


m.F. Information Relevant to Intervention Design
In addition to collecting information relevant to the delineation of food-insecure groups, RFSAs
will make recommendations regarding the most appropriate interventions that should be
implemented in the area. These interventions would encompass development-type interventions that
enhance the long-term sustainability of HFS, mitigation-type interventions that enable HFS to retain
their productive assets and existing entitlements and relief-type responses if immediate food aid
distribution is warranted (Hutchinson 1991; Frankenberger 1992). Information relevant to
implementing these interventions will be necessary to collect. For example, food-for-work/cash-
for-work programs aimed at allowing households to retain their productive assets by providing
alternative employment opportunities are better designed if particular types of information are made
available. If such programs are implemented to promote the restoration of degraded resources
through efforts in soil conservation, water harvesting, or re-establishment of forest reserves, it
would be useful to know something about common property management practices, land tenure,
group decision making situations and labor arrangements, seasonal labor requirements, and local
knowledge of existing resources (Molnar 1989). Similarly, information about the cropping and
livestock systems and their current status will help determine whether agpaks should be oriented
toward maintenance, rehabilitation, or diversification/risk reduction (see Caldwell 1992). Market
interventions aimed at stabilizing prices for grain and livestock may need information on the
feasibility of establishing livestock banks or village grain banks in the local area.

One of the most important types of information to consider for intervention design will be the
institutional and staff capability of the organizations responsible for implementing the interventions.
RFSA should attempt to assess the local level functioning of these agencies or organizations, their
priorities, and the quality of their staff. This assessment will help determine what type of





Famine Miigeaion Srte Paper: Rapid Fod Secity Assessment


monitoring system and interventions are feasible, given the availability of the local level resources.
The financial, personal, institutional, and infrastructural resources available will set the boundaries
within which such systems should operate.


IV. Development of Contingency Plans

The RFSA report will feed directly into the development of a district or subregional contingency
plan, similar to the system set up in Turkana, Kenya (Swift 1986). Run by the Turkana Drought
Contingency Planning Unit, this system alerts authorities of deteriorating food security by
monitoring local coping strategies as well as quantifiable data provided by other government
departments (Buchanan-Smith et al. 1991).

The contingency plan will consist of a decentralized household food security monitoring system and
a set of pre-determined responses that would be implemented when food security conditions change
(Frankenberger and Coyle 1992). This monitoring system would incorporate a small set of
location-specific indicators that would be updated annually that detect changes in food entitlement
and supply. The intervention responses that will be triggered by the monitoring system would
encompass development-type interventions, mitigation-type interventions, and relief-type responses.
Responsibilities for these various actions will be negotiated and assigned, if possible, to
government agencies, donors, and local NGOs prior to the onset of the food crisis to improve
response timing. Where possible, participation of local communities in information gathering and
responses should be encouraged.


V. Conclusions

Eoaqavailability amd stable_ access are both critical to household food-security. Therefore, time-
effective survey techniques are needed that take both of these factors into account in assessing the
food security situation of a targeted area. Rapid food security assessments are especially useful for
this purpose.

The targeting and timing of RFSAs will be triggered by early warning systems that identify specific
geographical regions susceptible to food shortages. Vulnerability maps can be drawn up to identify
areas and sections of the populations that are most vulnerable to food insecurity. The development
of such maps would be the first step in identifying districts. or subregions where more location
specific HFS information is necessary to collect for designing appropriate interventions.

Once a food insecure area has been designated, RFSAs can be used to identify: 1) vulnerable
groups; 2) the causes and magnitude of the food insecurity situation; 3) location specific coping
ability indicators for food security monitoring; and 4) to determine appropriate mitigation
interventions for alleviating the food deficit problem. Using purposive sampling techniques,
information would be gathered through open-ended interviews with groups and individuals and
through interactive data gathering tools such as diagrams and ranking exercises. Multidisciplinary
teams would be used for this purpose.





Famine Miigeaion Srte Paper: Rapid Fod Secity Assessment


monitoring system and interventions are feasible, given the availability of the local level resources.
The financial, personal, institutional, and infrastructural resources available will set the boundaries
within which such systems should operate.


IV. Development of Contingency Plans

The RFSA report will feed directly into the development of a district or subregional contingency
plan, similar to the system set up in Turkana, Kenya (Swift 1986). Run by the Turkana Drought
Contingency Planning Unit, this system alerts authorities of deteriorating food security by
monitoring local coping strategies as well as quantifiable data provided by other government
departments (Buchanan-Smith et al. 1991).

The contingency plan will consist of a decentralized household food security monitoring system and
a set of pre-determined responses that would be implemented when food security conditions change
(Frankenberger and Coyle 1992). This monitoring system would incorporate a small set of
location-specific indicators that would be updated annually that detect changes in food entitlement
and supply. The intervention responses that will be triggered by the monitoring system would
encompass development-type interventions, mitigation-type interventions, and relief-type responses.
Responsibilities for these various actions will be negotiated and assigned, if possible, to
government agencies, donors, and local NGOs prior to the onset of the food crisis to improve
response timing. Where possible, participation of local communities in information gathering and
responses should be encouraged.


V. Conclusions

Eoaqavailability amd stable_ access are both critical to household food-security. Therefore, time-
effective survey techniques are needed that take both of these factors into account in assessing the
food security situation of a targeted area. Rapid food security assessments are especially useful for
this purpose.

The targeting and timing of RFSAs will be triggered by early warning systems that identify specific
geographical regions susceptible to food shortages. Vulnerability maps can be drawn up to identify
areas and sections of the populations that are most vulnerable to food insecurity. The development
of such maps would be the first step in identifying districts. or subregions where more location
specific HFS information is necessary to collect for designing appropriate interventions.

Once a food insecure area has been designated, RFSAs can be used to identify: 1) vulnerable
groups; 2) the causes and magnitude of the food insecurity situation; 3) location specific coping
ability indicators for food security monitoring; and 4) to determine appropriate mitigation
interventions for alleviating the food deficit problem. Using purposive sampling techniques,
information would be gathered through open-ended interviews with groups and individuals and
through interactive data gathering tools such as diagrams and ranking exercises. Multidisciplinary
teams would be used for this purpose.





Famine Mitigoon Strategy Paper: Rapid Food Securiy Asestsment


Upon completion of the survey, contingency plans should be drawn up to link information to
response. Responses would encompass development-type interventions that enhance the long term
sustainability of livelihood systems and HFS, mitigation-type interventions that enable households
to retain their productive assets, and relief-type responses where immediate food distribution is
warranted. To ensure that HFS interventions are appropriate, it is important to involve local
communities in the diagnosis and design process. This participation will allow communities to
manage their HFS in a self-sustaining way.





Famine Miteuon Saugy Paper: Rapid Food Security Assessment


REFERENCES CITED


Bernard, H.R. 1988. Research Methods in Culturl Anthropology. Newbury Park, California,
USA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Borton, J. and J. Shoham. 1991. Mapping Vulnerability to Food Insecurity: Tentative Guidelines
for WFP Offices, mimeo. Study Commissioned by the World Food Programme. London:
Relief and Development Institute.

Borton, J. and S. York. 1987. Experiences of the Collection and Use of Micro-Level Data in
Disaster Preparedness and Managing Emergency Operations, mimeo. Report on the
workshop held at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, January 1987.
London: Relief and Development Institute.

Buchanan-Smith, M., S. Davies and R. Lambert. 1991. A Guide to Famine Early Warning and
Food Information Systems in the Sahel and Horn of Africa. A Review of the Literature.
Volume 2 of a Three Part Series. IDS Research Reports Rr 21. Brighton, U.K.:
University of Sussex, Institute of Development Studies.

Caldwell, R.M. 1992. AgPaks as a Famine Mitigation Intervention. Tucson, Arizona, USA:
University of Arizona, Office of Arid Lands Studies; supported by the U.S. Agency for
International Development, Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, and the Office of
International Cooperation and Development, Washington, D.C.

Casley, D.J. and K. Kumar. 1988. The Collection, Analysis, and Use of Monitoring and
Evaluation Data. Baltimore, Maryland, USA: The Johns Hopkins University Press (for
The World Bank).

Chambers, R. 1989. Editorial introduction: vulnerability, coping and policy. IDS Bulletin
2(2):1-7.

Chambers, R. 1985. Shortcut Methods of Gathering Social Information for Rural Development
Projects. In M. Cernea, ed., Putting People First. New York: Oxford University Press.

Chambers, R., A. Pacey, and L.A. Thrupp, eds. 1989. Farmer First: Farmer Innovation and
Agricultural Research. London: Intermediate Technology Publications.

Conway, G. 1989. Diagrams for Farmers. In Farmer First: Farmer Innovation and Agricultural
Research, R. Chambers, A. Pacey, and L.A. Thrupp, eds., 77-86. London: Intermediate
Technology Publications.

Corbett, J. 1988. Famine and Household Coping Strategies. World Development 16(9):1009.





Famine Mitigatio Storeg Paper: Rapid Food Securiy Assessment


Davies, S., M. Buchanan-Smith and R. Lambert. 1991a. Early Warning in the Sahel and Horn of
Africa: The State of the Art. A Review of the Literature. Volume 1 of a Three Part Series.
IDS Research Reports Rr 20. Brighton, U.K.: University of Sussex, Institute of
Development Studies.

Davies, S., M. Leach,'and R. David. 1991b. Food Security and the Environment: Conflict or
Complementarity? IDS Discussion Paper. Brighton, U.K.: University of Sussex, Institute
for Development Studies.

de Waal, A. 1989. Famine that Kills: Darfur, Sudan, 1984-1985. Oxford, U.K.: Clarendon
Press.

de Waal, A. 1988. Famine Early Warning Systems and the use of socio-economic data.
Disasters 12(1): 81-91.

Dixon, J.M. 1992. Food Policy, Household Economics and Farming Systems. Draft paper,
FAO.

Downing, T.E. 1990. Assessing Socioeconomic Vulnerability to Famine: Frameworks, Concepts,
and Applications. FEWS Working Paper 2.1. Washington, D.C.: USAID, Famine Early
Warning System Project.

Downing, T.E. 1988. Climatic Variability, Food Security and Smallholder Agriculturalists in Six
Districts of Central and Eastern Kenya. Ph.D. dissertation. Clark University.

Drinkwater, M. 1992. HFS in FSR: An Introduction to the Use of Informal Methods. A paper
presented to the Southern and Eastern Africa Regional Workshop on Household Food
Security in Farming Systems Research, Mansa, Zambia, 10-14 August, 1992.

Drinkwater, M. and M.A. McEwan. 1992. Household Food Security and Environmental
Sustainability in Farming Systems Research: Developing Sustainable Livelihoods. A paper
presented to the Adaptive Research Planning Team (ARPT) Biannual Review Meeting,
Mongu, 13-16 April 1992.

Eklund, P. 1990. Rapid Rural Assessments for Sub-Saharan Africa: Two Case Studies. The
Economic Development Institute of The World Bank.

Frankenberger, T.R. 1992. Indicators and Data Collection Methods for Assessing Household
Food Security. Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona, Office of Arid Lands Studies; u
supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Rome and
UNICEF.

Frankenberger, T.R. and P.E. Coyle. 1992. Integrating Household Food Security into Farming
Systems Research-Extension. Tucson, Arizona, USA: University of Arizona, Office of Arid
Lands Studies; supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development, Office of





Famine Mitigation Srategy Paper: Rapid Food Security Assessment


Foreign Disaster Assistance, and the Office of International Cooperation and Development,
Washington, D.C.

Frankenberger, T.R. 1991. Rapid Food Security Assessment. In Famine Mitigation: Proceedings
of Workshops Held in Tucson, Arizona, May 20-May 23, 1991 and Berkeley Springs, West
Virginia, July 31-August 2, 1991. Tucson, Arizona, USA: University of Arizona, Office
of Arid Lands Studies; supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development,
Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, and the Office of International Cooperation and
Development, Washington, D.C.

Frankenberger, T.R. 1990. Production-Consumption Linkages and Coping Strategies at the
Household Level. Paper presented at the Agriculture-Nutrition Linkage Workshop, Bureau
of Science and Technology, USAID, Washington, D.C., February 1990.

Frankenberger, T.R., and D.M. Goldstein. 1992. The Long and the Short of It: Relationships
Between Coping Strategies, Food Security and Environmental Degradation in Africa. In
Growing Our Future, K. Smith, ed. New York: Kumarian Press.

Frankenberger, T.R., and D.M. Goldstein. 1990. Food security, coping strategies, and
environmental degradation. Arid Lands Newsletter 30: 21-27.

Frankenberger, T.R. and J. Lichte. 1985. A Methodology for Conducting Reconnaissance Surveys
in Africa. Farming Systems Support Project Networking Paper #10. Gainesville, Florida,
USA.

Frankenberger, T.R., S. Franzel, M. Odell, M. Odell and L. Walecka (eds). 1987. Diagnosis in
Farming Systems Research and Extension, Volume I. Farming Systems Support Project
Training Units Series. Gainesville, Florida, USA: University of Florida, Institute of Food
and Agricultural Sciences.

Franzel, S. 1984. Comparing the Results of an Informal Survey with those of a Formal Survey: A
Case Study of Farming Systems Research/Extension (FSR/E) in Middle Kirinyaga, Kenya.
A paper submitted to the Farming Systems Research/Extension Symposium, Manhattan,
Kansas.

Haddad, L., J. Sullivan and E. Kennedy. 1991. Identification and Evaluation of Alternative
Indicators of Food and Nutrition Security: Some Conceptual Issues and an Analysis of
Extant Data. Washington, D.C.: International Food Policy Research Institute.

Hesse, C. 1987. Livestock Market Data as an Early Warning Indicator of Stress in the Pastoral
Economy. Pastoral Development Network, Discussion Paper No. 24f. London: Overseas
Development Institute.

Hildebrand, P. 1981. Combining Disciplines in Rapid Appraisal: The Sondeo Approach.
Agricultural Administration 8(6):423-32.





Famie Miigaden Sutregy Paper: Rapid Food Security Assessment


Hutchinson, C.F. 1992. ShortFEWS: Early Warning and Vulnerability Assessmentfor Famine
Mitigation. Tucson, Arizona, USA: University of Arizona, Office of Arid Lands Studies;
supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development, Office of Foreign Disaster
Assistance, and the Office of International Cooperation and Development, Washington,
D.C.

Hutchinson, C.F. 1991. Famine and Mitigation. In Famine Mitigation: Proceedings of
Workshops Held in Tucson, Arizona, May 20-May 23, 1991 and Berkeley Springs, West
Virginia, July 31-August 2, 1991. Tucson, Arizona, USA: University of Arizona, Office
of Arid Lands Studies; supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development,
Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, and the Office of International Cooperation and
Development, Washington, D.C.

Hutchinson, C.F., P.T. Gilruth, R.A. Hay, S.E. Marsh, C.T. Lee. 1992. Geographic
Information Systems Applications in Crop Assessment and Famine Early Warning. Tucson,
Arizona, USA: University of Arizona, Arizona Remote Sensing Center and Advanced
Resource Technology Program. (Prepared for the Food and Agriculture Organization of
the United Nations)

Jodha, N.S. 1986. Poor in dry regions of India. Economic and Political Weekly
XXI(27): 1169-81.

Joy, L. 1973. Food and nutrition planning. Journal of American Economics XXIV,January.

Longhurst, R. 1987. Rapid Rural Appraisal. Food and Nutrition 13(1):44-47.

Longhurst, R. 1986. Household food strategies in response to seasonality and famine. IDS
Bulletin 17:27-35.

Lynham, M.B., T.R. Frankenberger, W. Phelan, H. N'Gaide, P. Stone, J.A. Tabor and H.
N'Dongo. Farming Systems Along the Senegal River Valley: A Rainy Season Food
Consumption Survey in Guidimaka, Gorgol and Brakna Regions. Mauritania Agricultural
Research Project II. USAID Nouakchott. January. Report No. 6. Tucson, Arizona,
USA: University of Arizona, Office of Arid Lands Studies.

Maxwell, S. 1989. Rapid food security assessment: a pilot exercise in Sudan. RRA Notes, no. 5.
London: International Institute for Environment and Development.

Maxwell, S. and M. Smith with contributions by S. Davies, A. Evans, S. Jaspars, J. Swift and H.
Young. 1992. Household Food Security: A Conceptual Review. Brighton, U.K.:
University of Sussex, Institute of Development Studies; supported by the International Fund
for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Rome and UNICEF.





Famine Migtigao Strtegy Paper: Rapid Food Securiy Assessment


McCracken, J.A., J.N. Pretty, and G.R. Conway. 1988. An Introduction to Rapid Rural
Appraisal for Agricultural Development. London: International Institute for Environment
and Development (IIED).

Mead, D.C. 1988. Nonfarm Income and Food Security: Lessons from Rwanda. Pages 331-338,
In Household and National Food Security in Southern Africa, G.D. Mudimu and R.H.
Bernstein, eds. Proceedings of the Fourth Annual Conference on Food Security Research
in Southern Africa, October 31-November 3, 1988. University of Zimbabwe/Michigan
State University Food Security Research Project, Department of Agricultural Economics
and Extension, Harare, Zimbabwe.

Molnar, A. 1991. Rapid Rural Appraisal Methodology Applied to Project Planning and
Implementation in Natural Resource Management. In Soundings: Rapid and Reliable
Research Methods for Practicing Anthropologists. J. Van Willigen and T. Finan, eds.
National Association for the Practice of Anthropology Bulletin 10.

Molnar, A. 1989. Community Forestry: Rapid Appraisal. Rome: Food and Agricultural
Organization of the United Nations.

Norman, D.W. 1991. Soil Conservation: Using Farming Systems Development as an Aid. Paper
prepared for the Farm Management and Production Economics Service, Agricultural
Services Division, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Rome.

Puetz, D. 1992. The Potential of Small-Scale Surveys, Focused on Specific Food Policy Issues.
A paper prepared for the IFPRI Workshop on Data Needs for Food Policy in Developing
Countries: Directions for Household Surveys, Washington, D.C., September 1-2, 1992.

Swift, J. 1989. Why are rural people vulnerable to famine? IDS Bulletin 20(2): 8-16.

Swift, J. 1989b. Planning Against Drought and Famine in Turkana: A District Contingency
Plan. In Coping with Drought in Kenya, T.E. Downing, K.W. Gitu and M.K. Crispin,
eds. Boulder and London: Lynne Rienner.

Swinton, S.M. 1988. Drought Survival Tactics of Subsistence Farmers in Niger. Human Ecology
16:123-144.

Thomas, R.B., S.H.B.H. Paine, and B.P. Brenton. 1989. Perspectives on Socio-Economic
Causes of and Responses to Food Deprivation. Food and Nutrition Bulletin 11:41-54.

Velarde, N. 1991. The Zambian Farming Systems Approach to Studying Household Food
Security. Paper presented at the Working Seminar on Dependency on Forest Foods for
Food Security, March 13-15, 1991. Uppsala, Sweden: Swedish University of Agricultural
Sciences, International Rural Development Centre.






Famine Mdlgaioe Slraegy Paper: Rapid Food Security Assessment


Walker, T., and N. Jodha. 1986. How Small Farm Households Adapt to Risk. In Crop
Insurance for Agricultural Development: Issues and Experience, P. Hazell, ed. Baltimore,
Maryland: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Watts, M. 1988. Coping with the Market: Uncertainty and Food Security Among Hausa
Peasants. In Coping with Uncertainty in Food Supply, I. De Garine and G.A. Harrison,
eds., 260-290. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

World Bank. 1986. Poverty and Hunger: Issues and Options for Food Security in Developing
Countries. Washington, D.C.: World Bank, A World Bank Policy Study.

World Resources Institute, Center for International Development and Environment. 1989.
Participatory Rural Appraisal Handbook: Conducting PRAs in Kenya. Washington, D.C.:
World Resources Institute.






Famine Miigation Strategy Paper: Rapid Food Security Assessment


Annex 1

Rapid Rural Appraisal'

Why use RRA?

To avoid the problems of long and costly formal surveys, including:

- too much data collected;
irrelevant data collected;
S late and inappropriate results produced;
S too little/no participation by the local people.

To avoid the risks of quick and unstructured development tourism surveys, including:

obtaining only a snapshot picture of the area or topic;
relying heavily on previous assumptions:
working without a framework to guide the collection and analysis of information.

To help overcome the biases of:

meeting only the more accessible and well-to-do individuals and groups;
looking for only the quantitative, apparent data, and missing the more qualitative, in-depth
information and insights;
dealing with the local population in a 'top-down' manner.

To encourage participation of local people in the process of development by:

investigating local insights resulting in more effective research information being collected;
involving local people in research and design to increase commitment and empowerment.

What are the principles behind RRA?

We can involve local people and increase participation and empowerment;

We can learn from the local people, use local classifications and terminologies;

We can limit the amount of information we collect (optimal ignorance);

We can explore the range of circumstances, rather than get a statistical sample;




SProduced by the Sustainable Agriculture Programme, International Institute for
Environment and Development, London.





Feasie Migedes Seruy r apera- Rapd Food Secaity Assessment


We can investigate each issue in different ways and from different angles (triangulation);

We can adopt an informal approach, and change it is we go iterativee);

We can learn better in teams, with people from different backgrounds and with different
areas of expertise (interdisciplinary);

We can do much of the work in-the-field.

What are the techniques of RRA?

The RRA approach provides a basket of choices of different techniques. Any RRA exercises will
make use of a particular combination of these techniques, depending on the available resources and
the desired output. The choices include:

Secondary data review: learning from existing official records, census reports, survey
documents, maps, photographs, etc.

Direct observation: looking first-hand at the conditions, the agricultural practices, the
people, the relationships, the problems, etc.

Semi-structured interviewing: informal discussions, based on a flexible checklist of topics.
Respondents could be individual villagers or key informants (people with specialist
knowledge, for example, the schoolteacher, village leaders, health officer). Interviewing
can be done with the individuals or in groups. Taking casual notes during the interviews. A
learning experience for the interviewer.

Group interviewing may be in focus groups (for investigation of interest groups or
specialists' attitudes) or open group workshops (for general discussion or feedback).

Diagramming: producing diagrams, often in the field, to help communication and learning.
For example, maps, transects, seasonal calendars, flow diagrams, cartoons. Roughly drawn
on paper or scratched in the ground.

Ranking: Investigating decision-making preferences and why people make choices can be
done in ranking games. Preference ranking: ranks items through pairwise comparisons.
Direct matrix ranking ranks decision criteria. Wealth ranking is a tool for investigating
local perceptions of wealth and is a rapid way of stratifying the population.

Games and role playing: playing learning games, such as adaptations of traditional board
games (e.g. the Ayo to investigate attitudes, strategies and preferences), futures possible (to
find people's ideas for opportunities), and the Why? game (to find people's perceptions of
the root causes of problems). Informal dramas by the RRA team, or the local people, or
both, for communicating and learning, and stimulating discussion.






Famie Miigaon Srtegy Paper: Rapid Food Security Assessment


Stories and portraits: as part of the RRA report, recording interesting stories told during
interviews, and describing portraits of households with interesting or unusual situations.

Workshopping: brainstorming, analysis and presentation session in the field or in the
meeting room.

Who uses RRA?

Anyone involved in development and research can; it is best carried out by local people.

Where has RRA been used?

Mostly in less developed countries (but also in developed).

Mostly in rural situations but also in urban).

Mostly in the agricultural field (but also in others, for example, economics, health,
nutrition, forestry, energy).

Mostly at the village level (but also as larger scale exercise).

When is RRA used?

The RRA approach can be used throughout the project cycle:

When exploring an area to learn of the key problems and opportunities to help plan
research or development projects (Exploratory RRA, for example Agroecosystem
Analysis);

When investigating one specific topic, question or problem (Topical RRA);

S When involving local people in research and planning (Participatory RRA):

When monitoring and evaluating a research or development activity (Monitoring and
Evaluation RRA);

S When dealing with conflicting differences between different groups (Conflict Resolution
RRA).
Limitations of RRA

RRA techniques are complementary to other research methodologies (statistical surveys,
long-term anthropological study, etc).

RRA techniques may be rapid, but the process of development is not.

S Participatory approaches to research may raise local expectations; follow-up is necessary.





Famine Midgtioon Strarte Paper: Rapid Food Securin A4sssssen


RRA techniques may not be cross-culturally transferable; they need to be adapted to local
situations.

Appropriate use of RRA techniques requires the training of facilitators and participants.

RRA produces questions, hypotheses or "best bets" for development not final answers.






Famine MiHatlio S wrge Paper Rapid Food Securiy Assessment


Annex 2
Rapid Rural Appraisal Techniques: The "Basket of Choices"2

There are a variety of categories for the RRA techniques, methods or tools. These are as follows:

Secondary Data Review secondary data and information are published or unpublished data
acquired by other people at an earlier time that are relevant to the topic or system under study.

Direct Observation this encompasses any direct observation of field objects, events, processes,
relationships or people that are recorded by the team in note or diagrammatic form.

Map bold and schematic to obtain an overview of the resources of all types in the PA.

Transect a representation of spatial differences that includes the major distinguishing features,
including soils, crops, trees, livestock, wildlife, tenure and institutional issues.

Seasonal Calendar a single diagram containing between-season changes in related components of
the system under study, including climate, crop sequences, pests and diseases, perennial and wild
harvest, labor demand, prices, human diseases, social events, income/expenditure, consumption of
food, etc.

Historical Profile major events recalled by informants and obtained from the secondary data.

Venn Diagrams in which key institutions and individuals responsible for decisions are
represented by circles with differing degrees of overlap in order to investigate local perceptions of
institutional control and decision-making.

Other Diagrams other diagrammatic representations of flows or decisions can be useful for
demonstrating hypotheses or summarizing interview information.

Preference Rankings pairwise comparisons to investigate decision-making criteria between
various items, e.g., trees, crop varieties, fruits, vegetables.

Direct Matrix Rankings in which the items under investigation are ranked by informants
according to favorable and unfavorable characteristics.

Wealth Rankings in which the perceptions of informants are used to rank households within a
village or portion of a village according to overall wealth.

Key Informant Interviews in which informants with special knowledge or who hold a position of
interest are identified and interviewed on these topics.



2 Produced by the Sustainable Agriculture Programme, International Institute for Environment and
Development, London.





Famine Mtigaion Strtegy Paper: Rapid Food Security Assessmen


Focus Group Discussions different groups in the community are gathered for open-ended
discussion on key issues.

Community Workshops open discussion sessions where research issues can be explored or
results fed back to the community. Either managed with one group or with break-up into smaller
discussion groups with-plenary feedback.

Analytical Workshops these are a means of bringing people together, including the field team
and outsiders introduced for their skills and experience, to participate actively in reviewing,
analyzing and evaluating the information gathered. Workshops are typically fairly intensive,
switching between plenary and group work, and aim to arrive at a consensus of opinion over
priorities for action.

Any Rapid Rural Appraisal exercise uses a selection of these techniques to generate and crosscheck
information. The choice of techniques is dependent on the objectives of the exercise. RRAs
combine short, intensive periods of field work interspersed with analytical workshop sessions.





Famine Mitigation Straegy Paper: Rapid Food Securit Assessment


Annex 3
A Procedure for Conducting Rapid Food Security Assessments

Rapid food security assessments (RFSAs) are generally conducted over a period of one week to
two months, often during the growing season when food supplies are scarce. Aspects which the
survey team should address prior to, during, and after the survey is conducted are presented below
(adapted from Frankenberger and Lichte 1985, and Frankenberger et al. 1987).

A. Determine What Are the Objectives of the Study
This should be done in collaboration with all participating organizations and institutions involved or
directly affected by the findings. This step helps insure that all groups involved understand the
goals of the survey and that information which is given high priority is collected by the team.
Possible objectives for such surveys could include: 1) determining the most vulnerable groups in a
targeted area; 2) determining the causes and magnitude of the food insecurity situation; 3)
identifying location-specific indicators for food security monitoring; and 4) determining appropriate
mitigation interventions that will alleviate the food deficit problem.

B. Composition of the Survey Team
The make-up of the survey team will vary depending upon the resources available and the context
of the assessment. Useful considerations for devising such teams are as follows:

i. The size of the team will vary depending upon the number of geographical areas
that need to be covered and the complexity of the environmental/sociocultural
setting. A good number is 6 team members per specific geographical region. This
is about all that can fit comfortably into a landrover or land cruiser.

ii. The team should consist of an equal distribution of social scientists and
physical/biological scientists. A good mix of disciplines would include agricultural
economists, anthropologists, crop specialists, and animal scientists. Local scientists
and extension personnel should be used as much as possible rather than expatriates.
In addition, the team should include female researchers to ensure that female
farmers are interviewed, especially in situations where male researchers are not
allowed to interview the females of the household.

C. Review Secondary Data
A RFSA team begins planning a survey by examining existing information concerning the area.
One of the main problems with such surveys is allocating adequate time for background literature
review. The review process should take one week prior to going to the field. This review would
also include securing maps and aerial photographs of the area.

D. Key Informant Interviews
Good background information about the area to be surveyed can be obtained from knowledgeable
personnel such as local government officials, extension personnel, school teachers, and other
resource persons in the area. These contacts will likely allow the team to tap into a network of
knowledgeable persons and materials which can provide useful information of the area. These





Famine MIkigaio SregU P oper Rapid Food Secwau Awssnent


resource persons can also provide the team the local knowledge categories so that questions asked
in the survey will be understandable and appropriate.

E. Obtain Maps and Letters of Introduction from the ADorooriate Officials
Maps of the area to be surveyed can usually be obtained from geological survey offices in the
capitol city. Sometimes updated maps can be obtained from projects working in the area to be
studied. It may also be useful to have letters of introduction from ministry officials to facilitate
collaboration with regional officials and to ensure access to the study area.

F. Interviewing Guidelines
Topical lists or minimum data sets are important for guiding interviews. These lists assist team
members in addressing topics and aspects of a topic which they may otherwise omit. Important
considerations for constructing such a topical outline are the following:

i. Consult other topical guides to ensure that major topical areas are considered (see
Food Security Checklist in Annex 4).

ii. Use secondary data sources to devise the topical list. Topics may be derived from
sources such as: 1) written reports; 2) interviews with resource persons; 3)
information needs of implementing agencies; 4) previous knowledge of team
members; and 5) prior survey experience.

iii. Much of the information collected in surveys has a degree of accuracy that is not
necessary (Eklund 1990). Chambers (1985) has described two principles that
should be applied under such circumstances. The first principle is oQtimal
ignorance. We should not try to find out more than what is needed. This is why
the notion of minimal data set is important. The second principle is proportionate
accuracy. We should not measure more accurately than is necessary.

iv. Consensus should be reached among team members on every topic included in the
outline.

v. The development of a topical outline or food security checklist can be a crucial "
team-building exercise. This process allows each participant to contribute to the
list, emphasizing topics of relevance to his/her own particular discipline. Survey
priorities are established before going to the field and the team begins to function as
a single unit or entity.

vi. The topical outline should be tested prior to going to the field. This procedure
allows the team to determine the appropriate manner in which to ask some questions
and helps them refine their interviewing techniques. Appropriate interviewing
procedures, which put the farmer at ease and which are conducive to collecting
accurate information, are critical to the success of a RFSA. Among the topics
which a team should discuss before going to the field are:

1. how to introduce oneself to the household,





Famine Mtigatdo Strapte Paper: Rapid Food Securiy Assesswu


2. the advantages and disadvantages of group interviews versus individual
interviews,
3. how to handle translation,
4. how to avoid asking biased questions,
5. how much time to spend with each interviewee, and
6. how to handle sensitive topics.

vii. Tables can be constructed from the topical list which allow for the transfer of data
from field notes to a comparative format. These tables allow for continuous
comparisons among households which help focus the discussion among team
members. They also provide a means for evaluating or checking the completeness
of the field notes. However, sometimes team members will not want to pursue all
of the topics on the list in order to obtain more detailed information on a particular
aspect. In such cases, the tables will deliberately be incomplete.

viii. Team members may want to combine a structured format and an unstructured
format in informal interviews. Topical lists could be used by some team members
while others interview households without such lists. Such a combination would
provide comparative information across villages as well as indepth information on
some topics (see Lynham et al. 1987).

G. Target Area Selection
In countries where national early warning systems already exist (e.g., crop forecasting, food
balance sheets, nutrition surveillance), information supplied by these systems can help develop
vulnerability maps for various regions (Frankenberger 1992). These vulnerability maps should be
based upon both food supply type indicators and access/entitlement indicators as much as possible
to avoid designating an area as vulnerable which may not be. RFSA teams would not be
necessarily responsible for creating these maps, but would use them to target future survey
activities.

The vulnerability maps can then be used for designating areas where more location-specific
household food security information can be gathered (Frankenberger 1992). Important points to
consider when choosing a target area are:

i. Consider what can be reasonably covered in the time allotted. Coverage will be
influenced by such factors as environmental uniformity, technological development,
socioeconomic conditions, infrastructural development, and


access during the rainy season. The team should plan to spend more time in
regions where the agricultural systems are more diverse/variable than in regions
where they are more uniform.

ii. Draw up a schedule specifying the number of days to be spent in each area as well
as for travel time, review, and write-up. This schedule should be flexible.





Famusea MWigaion Strateg Paper: Rapid Food Security Assessment


iii. When the team arrives in the region to be surveyed, they should first contact local
officials to establish collaborative links and to elicit their help. These officials can
help select potential villages to be surveyed. The information needs of regional
administrators can also be elicited.

H. Village Selection
In terms of sampling, RFSAs normally use purposive sampling techniques in the selection of
villages to interview people of different classes, ethnicity, age, gender, and with different access to
resources (Molnar 1989). Factors that should be taken into account when selecting villages to be
surveyed might include: 1) location in relation to base of operation; 2) size; 3) access to roads; 4)
institutional complexity (e.g., infrastructure development); and 5) ethnic distribution. Contacting
villagers prior to the survey may or may not be necessary and advantageous. The survey team
should use its best judgement on this matter.

I. Interviewer Procedures
Recognizing that interviewing procedures may vary depending upon the sociocultural context, a ,jt
useful set of procedures to follow are outlined below:

i. Upon arrival in the village, the team should first meet with the village leaders and
explain to them and other villagers present the purpose of the study. In this
meeting the team can explain who they represent, what the results will be used for,
and why so many questions will be asked. General inquiries can be directed to the
group about village infrastructure, land tenure arrangements, sources of credit,
marketing, typical labor arrangements, and government programs in the area.
These interviews allow the team to collect data on area-specific trends in resource
endowments, cultivation practices and market access which raises considerably the
value of information obtained from individual households (Eklund 1990). Such
inquiries would focus on trends in land use, rainfall variation, yields, and grazing.

ii. After the initial inquiries with the assembled villagers, the team should split up into
groups of two to conduct interviews with individual households. In general, team
members will seek to interview a range of households across the area which they
are surveying. Random sampling is sometimes used (but not always) in selecting
individual households (Eklund 1990). A minimum number of randomly selected
observations will permit statistical inference to the households in the village, even
though a sample will not be representative of the population in the area. This will
allow for some exploration of relationships between variables upon which data are
collected.

However, it is often more practical to use informal, random procedures such as
deciding to visit the fourth farmer to the right along a selected path. The team may
also want to deliberately interview some households with particular characteristics.
This will ensure that the less visible food-insecure groups are interviewed such as
landless, rural poor, women, and isolated ethnic groups (Molnar 1989). RFSA
teams may also want to focus on degraded resource areas and smaller marginal
farmers to ensure that the food-insecure households are included in the survey.





Famin Mitigwien Sate~z Paper: Rapid Food Security Assessment


Sometimes the team may not have a choice in the selection of households because
the village leaders are making the choices. In such situations the team should
respect the village leaders' decisions and conduct abbreviated interviews with these
households. After this, the team can conduct interviews with other households they
consider more appropriate.

iii. Team members should also conduct interviews with local key informants other than
targeted households who interact frequently with them (e.g., traders, teachers, crop
processors, extension agents, etc.).

iv. Attempts should be made to interview the whole family, not just the male member
of the household. It is important not to assume that one member of the household
can speak for all the rest (Molnar 1989). Women have different knowledge and
opinions than men, and are the most familiar with local cultural categories, time
intervals, and measurements. They are likely to know more about harvest
quantities, processing values, storage losses, and consumption patterns. If possible,
both the husband and wife should be available for the interviewer. In addition,
women-headed households should be included in the survey sample. In many
countries, women are primarily responsible for the food security of the household.

v. Interviews should be conducted with households away from the rest of the villagers.
This will allow team members to obtain answers and opinions specific to the family
being interviewed rather than the group consensus. Often in rural areas, these
interviews can be carried out in the farm household's field away from the village.

vi. Team members should not work with the same partner every day (Hildebrand
1981). Rotating team members daily gives each person an opportunity to work with
and learn from the other team members. This facilitates the exchange of ideas and
helps better communication among team members. Ideally, one social scientist and
one physical/biological scientist will be matched up in each pair.

vii. In addition to conducting group and individual interviews, other techniques can be
used to gather information on food security issues. Focus group interviews can be
used to gain indepth information about particular issues. Interviews are conducted
with homogeneous groups of local people to obtain different perspectives from
different types of villagers.

Interactive data-gathering tools can also be used to elicit people's perceptions of
resources, constraints, social relations, wealth distribution, seasonal trends, and
selection criteria. For example, diagrams have been used effectively to stimulate
questions and responses, allowing the households' knowledge to be made more
explicit (Conway 1989). Diagrams can simplify complex information, making it
easier to communicate and analyze. Five different types of diagrams derived from
agroecosystem analysis are often used. Transects tend to be drawn by survey teams
that walk from the highest point to the lowest point in the immediate environment
accompanied by the local people. Consulting people in each zone, transects can





Famine Migation Strtegy Paper: Rpid Food Securiy Assessment


help identify major household food security problems and opportunities in the
agroecosystem and where they are located (Conway 1989). Calendars are used to
indicate seasonal features and changes and are useful for allowing farmers to
identify critical times in the crop production cycle with regard to changes in
climate, cropping patterns, labor access, food procurement strategies, diet, and
prices (Ibid. 1989). Flow diagrams are used to present events in a cycle of
production, marketing, and consumption. Venn diagrams can be used to understand
the institutional relationships in a village. Such information could be critical to
understanding the informal social mechanisms (e.g., claims) that buffer households
from periodic shocks.

Ranking and scoring exercises elicit people's own criteria and judgements
(Chambers 1985). These exercises can be used in wealth ranking of households as
well as for determining selection criteria for crop varieties and coping strategies.

Although these techniques are extremely valuable for eliciting more indepth
information on food security issues, they are often very time consuming to carry
out. Most of these techniques are more likely to be used in participatory rural
appraisal (PRA) exercises which provide guidance to community-based
interventions. PRAs tend to focus on one village rather than the food security
situation in a region, and community participation is more active (WRI 1989).
PRA is intended to help a community mobilize its human and natural resources to
define problems, evaluate local capacities, prioritize opportunities, and facilitate
self-help initiatives. Recognizing the value of these techniques, RFSA teams should
use them if time permits.

viii. After interviews are completed for a selected village, the team members should get
together to formulate hypotheses about the food security situation that characterizes
that region. It is important to remember that at least as much time is needed to
review and evaluate the content of the interviews as to conduct them. This
procedure helps summarize the important attributes, constraints, and opportunities
characterizing the food security situation and provides a basis for comparison when
the survey work is started in other villages. These reviews will help revise topical
outlines for further interviews. This process can be a crucial team-building
exercise.

ix. Once the survey is completed, hypotheses should be formulated regarding the major
food security constraints and vulnerable groups found in the surveyed areas. In
addition, the team members should also derive a series of intervention
recommendations to help alleviate the identified constraints. Interventions will be
aimed at helping people sustain their livelihoods. This may be achieved through:
1) a focus on retaining productive assets at the household level; 2) expanding
alternative economic activities through food-for-work or cash-for-work programs; 3)
stabilizing markets during food shortages; and 4) devising appropriate interventions
in conflict situations (Caldwell 1992). Team consensus should be reached on all
constraints and recommendations proposed. This activity gives the team members





Famine Mitigaon Straegy Paper: Rapid Food Security Assessment


an opportunity to combine their various disciplinary expertise in formulating
possible solutions. In some cases, the team may be called upon to prioritize these
recommendations.

When recommendations are drawn up, the team should also take into account the
institutional and staff capacity in the area to implement interventions. Such an
assessment should consider the organizational priorities and existing duties, and the
existing relationship of the organization with the target population (Molnar 1989).

J. Written Reports
The results of the rapid food security assessment should be written up in a time-effective manner.
To facilitate this write-up, the team leaders should assign each member a portion of the report to
be written. The report should identify: 1) the most food-insecure groups in the surveyed area; 2)
the causes and magnitude of the food-insecure situation; 3) location-specific indicators for food
security monitoring; and 4) appropriate mitigation interventions that will alleviate or lessen the food
deficit problem. Upon completion, the report should be distributed to all participating
organizations and institutions that will be implementing the recommendations.

K. Contingency Plans
The RFSA report will feed directly into the development of a district or sub-regional contingency
plan, consisting of a decentralized household food security (HFS) monitoring system and a set of
pre-determined responses that would be implemented when food security conditions change. This
monitoring system would incorporate a small set of location-specific indicators that would be
updated annually that detect changes in food entitlement and supply. The intervention responses
that will be triggered by the monitoring system would encompass develooment-type interventions
that enhance that long-term sustainability of HFS, mitigation-type interventions that enable
households to retain their productive assets and existing entitlements, and relief-type responses if
immediate food aid distribution is warranted (Hutchinson 1991; Frankenberger 1992).
Responsibilities for these various actions will be negotiated and assigned, if possible, to
government agencies, donors, and local NGOs prior to the onset of the food crisis to improve
response timing. Whenever possible, participation of local communities in information gathering
and response should be encouraged.






Famus Migation Strategy Paper: Rapid Food Securi Assessmnt



Annex 4: Food Insecurity Information Checklist3

Introductory Note:
The purpose of this checklist is to help you gather the information you need to write up short case
studies of individuals or families thought to be food insecure. It is not a questionnaire. This means
it is not necessary to present questions in the order asked, nor use the exact phrasing in the
checklist. However, you should try to cover all points listed in the checklist and present your
report in the order of the questions.

The questions on the checklist fall into four main sections:

a. Information on the community
b. Background information on the family
c. Current sources of livelihood; and
d. Food issues.

A. The Community
(NB: These questions can often be answered by community leaders at the beginning of the visit)

1. History of settlement
2. Size and composition of population (ethnic, family structure, occupations)
3. Social/political leadership
4. Government and voluntary agency programs
5. Community problems and needs.

B. Background Information
1. Location
2. Name of respondent
3. Family composition (adults, including children over fifteen; children; other
dependents)
4. Length of time in present location
5. Place of origin, date of leaving, reason for leaving
6. Occupation in place of origin
7. Future plans to stay or move

C. Current Livelihood
1. Resources available to the family (land, land improvements including trees), labor,
animals, machinery, equipment, household goods, cash, gifts/zakat
2. Security of tenure
3. Description of housing (materials, size, cooking facilities)



3 Taken from: Maxwell, S. 1989. Rapid Food Security Assessment: A Pilot Exercise in the
Sudan RRA Notes. International Institute for Environment and Development Sustainable
Agriculture Program.






Famre Mitigcawe StraU Paper: Rapid Food Security Asseusent


4. Activities undertaken (amount and description, including seasonality, location and
who in the family does what): agriculture, herding, employment, self-employmem,
trading, etc.
5. Estimate of income earned, per period, by person
6. Level of risk and coping strategies in times of hardship; illness, theft, physical
security, natural disasters; changes to normal pattern of activity
7. Access to services (health, education, transport)

D. Food Issues
1. Level of nutrition of family members
2. Composition of diet, by family member and time of year
3. Sources of food: production, purchase, exchange, free distribution
4. Problems of availability of food in the market (especially bread, sugar, sorghum)
5. Ownership/validity of ration card
6. Prices paid for food in most recent purchase, especially sugar, bread, sorghum,
beans, etc.
7. Source and price of water; quantity consumed; storage
8. Source and price of fuel for cooking
9. Views on food security issues.






Famine Mligatdie Strategy Paper: Rapid Food Security Assessment


Factor Market


Potential Indicators of Household Food Security from the Broader Literature
(Socio-Economic Indicators Related to Food Access)


Indicator
Household size/
composition


Migration


Ethnicity/region



Income sources


Changes in
income/
income sources


Annex 5:


Household
Demographic


(Taken From: Haddad et al. 1991)


Comments
Household's size/composition is not static, but changes with household biological life
cycle (Caldwell, Reddy, and Caldwell 1986). Adjustment of household
size/composition to recurrent food insecurity is a common strategy (Messer 1989a;
Norris 1988: Nabarro, Cassels, and Pant 1989; von Braun and Pandya-Lorch 1991).
During prolonged economic crisis the trend is toward smaller consumption units
(Seaman and Holt 1980; Taal 1989; Shipton 1990; Chambers 1989).
Larger/extended households are more likely than smaller/nuclear households to be
associated with greater diversification of assets, income sources and crop cultivation
(Toulmin 1986; Taal 1989; Nabarro, Cassels. and Pant 1989), and less vulnerable to
illness/death of breadwinners (Toulmin 1986; Lipton 1983a; Caldwell. Reddy, and
Caldwell 1986). However, the poorest households tend to have large young families
(Lipton 1983b). Households with female heads are often, but not always,
disadvantaged (Peters and Herrera 1989; Kennedy and Haadad 1991; Louat, Grosh,
and van der Gaag 1991).

Distinguish between seasonal migration of able-bodied adults prior to/during peak
agricultural labor periods and migration during dry season (de Waal 1988; Campbell
and Treehter 1982; Autier et al. 1989). Rural Ethiopians could predict six months in
advance whether household members would have to migrate in search of wage labor
(de Wal 1988). Distress migration of whole families is usually the last in a sequence
of household responses and a clear indication that other coping strategies failed
(Corbea 1988; Watts 1983).

Certain ethnic or caste groups may be historically or geographically more vulnerable
to seasonal or chronic food insecurity (O'Brien-Place 1988). Welfare levels often vary
distinctly by region (Haddad 1991).

Smallholders spread risks through diversification of income sources most notably
off-farm employment (Downing 1988; Shipton 1990; Caldwell, Reddy, and Caldwell
1985: Merryman 1984; Reutlinger 1987). The riskier the environment, the more
diverse the economic activities relied upon will be (Reardon, Matlon and Delgado
1988; Staatz, D'Agostino and Sundberg 1990). The distribution of income sources
within a given community may be U-shaped implying that income diversification has
different purposes and consequences for the most and least vulnerable households
(Castro, Hakansson, and Brokensha 1981: von Braun and Pandya-Lorch 1991). The
source and/or control of income may be more important than total income in
influencing household-level food security (Kennedy 1989).

Changes in petty marketing patterns of rural households may indicate anticipated
food insecurity (McCorkle 1987; Cutler 1984). Increasing income within communities
is associated with different diets but not necessarily improved nutrition (DeWalt et al.
1990; Behrman and Deolalikar 1987). The transition from subsistence to
cash-cropping has been associated with increased vulnerability and increased
malnutrition among children (Dewy 1981; Thomas, Paine, and Brenton 1989) and
with increased household caloric intake (Kennedy 1989) or increased food
expenditures (von Braun Hotchkiss and Immink 1989; von Braun de Haen and
Blanken 1991). The effect of commercialization of semi-subsistence agriculture on
food consumption and nutritional status of vulnerable groups has shown mixed results
(von Braun and Kennedy 1986).






Famine Migation Stratq Paper: Rapid Food Security Assessmea



Ana 5 coat.

Potential Indkaors of Household Food Secury from the Broader Literaure
(Soco-Economic Indicators Related to Food Access)

Household Indiator Comments
Income flow Income received seasonally in large sums will more likely be spent on lump-sum
expenditures or consumer goods than on improved diets and other nutrition-related
investments (Alderman 1986; Guyer 1980: Dewey 1979).

Access to Nearly half of rural South Indian households took loans during a recent drought, and
loans/credit most felt these had been a considerable factor in maintaining minimum living
conditions (Caldwell, Reddy, and Caldwell 1986). Access to traditional lines of credit
through merchants collapse as collateral (for example. livestock) disappears during
drought (Cutler 1986).

Land Number of different plot* may be a more sensitive indicator than total acreage since
ownership/ households with fragmented landholdings can take advantage of different
control micro-climates more than households with larger but often less diverse landholdings
(Dei 1990; Colson 1979; Paterson cited in Castro, Hakansson, and Brokensha 1981;
Dewey 1981; Downs 1988, cited in Shipton 1990). Access to seasonally flooded
lowlands is an important buffering mechanism in drought-prone areas (Longhurst
1986).

Land use Intensification of land-use practices is one of the earliest responses in a sequence of
practices adjustments to stress by Indian farmers (Jodha 1975, 1978). Intercropping, multiple
seed strains with different maturation periods/resistance to disease, and braced
mixtures of available cultivars are important diversification strategies of African
farmers to minimize the risk of crop failure and enhance food security (Shipton 1990;
Taal 1989; Smith 1986). Access to good-quality land and alternative employment
sources may be more important in determining nutritional status of rural populations
than choice of crop (DeWalt ct al. 1990).

Sales of Distress sales of land is a desperate measure and tends to occur much later in the
land belt-tightening process (Caldwell. Ready, and Caldwell 1986; Corbctt 1988). If land
is a household's only asset, it will only be sold if there is no other way to survive;
often the land is first mortgaged (Nabarro, Cassels, and Pant 1989). One of the more
common reasons for land to come into markets in India was wedding and/or funeral
expenditures (Srinivasan 1975 cited in Castro, Hakansson, and Brokensha 1981).

Trees Access to communal or private reserves of trees can significantly decrease the poor's
vulnerability to contingencies (Chambers and Leach 1989; Chambers and Longhurst
1986). The percentage of cultivated land planted to tree crops can be used as a proxy
for agro-climatic conditions, and was positively associated with child's s height in
Cote d'lvoire (Strauss 1988).

Livestock Diversified herds with different pasture needs are less vulnerable to drought and
infection than more homogenous herds that may produce more meat or milk (Colson
1979; Cutler 1986). The importance is not between small versus large herds, but
between owning no animals at all and having at least some (de Waal 1988). Access to
milk is indicated by having a female animal (de Waal 1988). Donkeys and mules are
highly valued during famine because they help travel (Shipton 1990). Lack of access
to resources, primarily oxen, makes women particularly vulnerable to drought in
Ethiopia (McCann 1987).
(Taken from: Haddad ct al. 1991)






Famine Miigation Straegy Paper: Rapid Food Securdy Assessment


Anaa S coat.

Potential Indicators of Household Food Security from the Broader Literature
(Socio-Economic indicators Related to Food Access)

Household Indictor Comments
Sales of The ability to market livestock for grain commonly determines who will survive a
livestock famine and who will not (Shipton 1990). The
sale of male animals before their optimum weight or of females before the end of
their reproductive period is an indicator of insecurity (White 1986). Livestock sales
occur normally, and do not necessarily imply a reduction of future productivity
(Swinton 1988). Indicators related to livestock sales, prices or market demand/supply
are difficult to interpret, and reliable data are hard to obtain in Chad and Mali (Auticr
et al. 1989).

Sales of Important to distinguish sales of key productive assets from sales of assets which are
assets primarily forms of insurance/saving (Corbet 1988). Successfully surviving drought
depends upon a household's s ability to retain intact all its productive assets (including
family labor supply) solely by cutting back on ceremonial forms of consumption and
by liquidating nonproductive assets (Jodha 1978). Poor people become poorer by
disposing of productive assets (Chambers 1989). The income and assets owned by the
richest and poorest quintiles is one of 20 suggested indicators of human welfare
(Anderson 1990).

Sales of The conversion of surplus food into durable valuables which can be stored and traded
food for food in emergencies is an important strategy for reducing vulnerability to risk
(Colson 1979). The very poor in India cannot afford to consume their own home
products and must sell them to obtain cash (Bhattacharya ct al. 1991).

Capital The number or diversity of assets may be a more useful indicator than net-worth of
equipment assets; households with low number and diversity of productive assets may be more
vulnerable to external shocks and contingencies (Chambers 1989: Swift 1989). But
low asset status is not necessarily synonymous with greatest poverty (Swift 1989).
Some landless peasants in Tanzania actually owned tractors (which they hired out) and
sewing machines (Pipping 1976. cited in Castro, Hakansson, and Brokenska 1981).
Wells have become crucially important assets to Malian farmers for producing a
regular grain surplus (Toulmin 1986).

Consumer Determine whether household owns enough cooking utensils to avoid borrowing plates
durables/ or pots from relatives or neighbors (Lewis 1951). Determine whether Indian women
semi-durables own more than one sari or blouse (Bhanttacharya et al. 1991).

Proximate Ill health The main asset of most poor people is their bodies (Chambers 1989). All producers
are vulnerable to sickness and disability (Toulmin 1986). Work-disabling accidents
and/or morbidity of household's breadwinners are often the pivotal events which
impoverish households, making them useful indicators (Corbcet 1989; Pryer 1989).

Education Few households with at least one educated member starve (Swift 1989). Women's
schooling, even after adjusting for income, has a higher elasticity of nutrient demand
than those for household size or income (Behrman and Wolfe 1984). Years of child
schooling could be used as an easily-measured proxy for household's living standards
(Birdsall 1982; Anderson 1990).


(Taken from: Haddad et al. 1991)






Famine Mitigaion Satrgy Paper: Rapid Food Secury Assessment


Annex 5 cot.

Poteaial Indicators of Household Food Security from the Broader Literatre
(Socio-Economic Indicators Related to Food Access)

Household Indicator Comments
Food stores Ability to store food post-harvest and availability of stored food pre-harvest are important
indicators to monitor (Chambers 1989; Thomas, Paine. and Brenton 1989). Having two
years household consumption requirements in store is seen as desirable in Sudan
(Maxwell. Swift, and Buchanan-Smith 1990). Estimates of number of months stored
grain will last are usually more accurate and culturally sensitive than asking farmers for
volume estimates of stored quantity (Frankenberger 1985; O'Brien-Place 1988).

Qualitative Shifts from preferred to lower status foods (starchy tubers or grain ground with stalks/
dietary husks/bran) and unconventional foods (wild foods, insects or game: poorer products,
changes e.g., broken rice grains) are a normal occurrence in areas facing seasonal food deficits,
but may also indicate anticipated stress (Ogbu 1973; Colson 1579: Cutler 1986:
Caldwell, Ready, and Caldwell 1986; Corbett 1988: Shipton 1990). Local sharing
between families or households often intensifies when food is scarce (Shipton 1990;
Maxwell, Swift and Buchanan-Smith 1990). The importance and intensity of wild food
use depends upon severity and length of food shortages, the location of households with
respect to wild food areas, and available household labor to collect them (Dewalt 1983;
Zinyama, Matiza, and Campbell 1990). Households producing for auto-consumption are
more likely to have greater dietary diversity than households producing primarily for the
market (Fleuret and Fleuret 1980: Dewey 1979: Smith 1986). The correlation between
dietary diversity and socioeconomic status is positive (Bentley 1987; DeWalt 1983; Schiff
and Valdes 1990 b).

Quantitative Fluctuation in consumption of main staple (Bhattacharya et al. 1991) or in meal patterns
dietary are indicative of food insecurity (Beck 1989; Taal 1989; Campbell and Trechter 1982;
changes Oshaug and Wandel 1989; Galvin 1988). Food consumption reduction is part of a
deliberate and early strategic household's response (Corbett 1988; Cutler 1984; Shipton
1990). The number of meals per day was not found to be a useful indicator in Chad and
Mali (Autier et al. 1989), and missed meals did not necessarily imply food unavailability
in India due to frequent eating outside the home or at work (Bhattacharya et al. 1991).
Most agrarians derive the bulk of calories from one to three grain staples which could
easily be monitored (de Garine 1988, cited in Shipton 1990). There was a drastic
reduction in consumption of pulses in India during the 1967 drought (Rao 1989).
Determine if household has recently participated in food aid programs (Cutler 1986; Beck
1989; O'Brien-Place and Frankenberger 1988).



(Taken from: Haddad et al. 1991)




University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs