International Food Security Assessment, 2011-21
by Shahla Shapouri
, Stacey Rosen
, Sharad Tandon
, Fred Gale
, Lisa Mancino
, and Junfei Bai
Outlook No. (GFA-22) 64 pp, July 2011
What Is the Issue?
The results in this report are based on projections of two key
determinants of food security: Food production and import capacity
of the countries. Domestic food production performance plays the
most critical role in the food security of these countries,
particularly for regions like Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa that
depend on grain supplies. Conversely, imports play a significant
role for regions like Latin America and North Africa that depend on
positive trade terms. Since August 2009, prices of nonfood
commodities (metals, agricultural, beverage, and industrial) have
risen more than those for food. Therefore, for countries that
export nonfood commodities and import food, food has become
relatively cheaper. To understand how food production and import
capacity impact food security, ERS researchers estimated and
projected three measures of food security regionally and in each of
the 77 developing countries for 2011-21. The estimates include the
- The number of food-insecure people in each country;
- The nutrition gap: The difference between projected food
availability and the food needed to meet the average recommended
nutritional target of roughly 2,100 calories per person per day;
- The distribution gap: The difference between projected food
availability and the food needed to increase consumption in
food-deficit income groups within individual countries to meet the
recommended nutritional target.
What Did the Study Find?
• Despite higher global food commodity prices, strong domestic
food production coupled with low price transmission from global to
domestic markets contributed to a decline in the number of
food-insecure people from 861 million in 2010 to 852 million in
- Asian countries are projected to see a decrease in
food-insecure people of 6 percent, while the distribution food gap
will decline by about 9 percent.
- North African (NA) countries will see no change, assuming that
the performance of their economies and food markets remains the
- The Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) region will see only
a slight increase.
- The number of food-insecure people in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)
is estimated to increase by 17 million and the distribution gap to
fall by 0.6 million tons.
• The number of food-insecure people is projected to decline by
16 percent, or nearly 140 million between 2011 and 2021.
- Asian and LAC countries will see a 33-percent decline in the
number of food-insecure people.
- Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) will see a 6-percent increase in the
number of food-insecure people.
• The distribution food gap is projected to decline by nearly 7
percent during the next decade.
- SSA shows an increase in its food gap, up roughly 20 percent.
This, coupled with a 6-percent increase in the number of
food-insecure people, indicates an intensification of food
insecurity among that region's poor.
- The distribution food gap is projected to decline by half in
Asia and by 35 percent in LAC. No distribution gap is projected for
How Was the Study Conducted?
All historical and projected data were updated relative to the
Food Security Assessment, 2010-20 report. Food production estimates
for 2010 were based on data from the United Nations' Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO) as of February 2011. Historical
production data came from FAO and food aid data came from the World
Food Programme (WFP). Financial and macroeconomic data were based
on the latest World Bank data as of February 2011. Projected
macroeconomic variables were either based on calculated growth
rates for the 1990s through the late-2000s or came from
International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank projections.
Projections of food availability include food aid, with the
assumption that each country will receive the 2007-09 average level
of food aid throughout the next decade.