International Food Security Assessment, 2012-22
by Stacey Rosen
, Birgit Meade
, Shahla Shapouri
, Anna D'Souza
, and Nicholas Rada
Outlook No. (GFA-23) 71 pp, July 2012
What Is the Issue?
Government policy makers, international development
organizations, and other stakeholders are concerned with the status
of international food security, a concern that has increased due to
the volatility in global food prices since the late 2000s. 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 many lower income
countries, particularly in the Asian and Sub-Saharan and
Sub-Saharan African regions in this report that depend primarily on
local grain supplies. Conversely, the capacity to pay for imports
plays a significant role for regions like Latin America and North
Africa that import a relatively large share of supplies. To
understand how food production and import capacity affect food
security, ERS researchers estimated and projected the number of
food-insecure people regionally and in each of the 76 developing
countries covered in this report for 2012-22.
What Did the Study Find?
Over the next decade, ERS projects that while the number of
food-insecure people for the 76 countries analyzed will increase,
the share of the population that is food insecure will drop from 24
to 21 percent and the distribution gap (the quantity of food
required to reach the nutritional target of roughly 2,100
calories/day for each income decile) will hold constant. However,
food insecurity is estimated to become more concentrated in
Sub-Saharan Africa, although even there the share of the population
that is food insecure falls.
- Food security is estimated to improve between 2011 and
2012. The number of food-insecure people is estimated to
decline by about 12 million, from 814 million in 2011 to 802
million in 2012.
- The number of food-insecure people in Sub-Saharan Africa
(SSA) is estimated to decrease by 4.3 percent and the distribution
gap to fall by 1.8 percent.
- Asian countries are estimated to see a small increase in the
number of food-insecurepeople from 2011 to 2012, but a 22-percent
increase in the distribution gap.
- Food security conditions are expected to be essentially
unchanged in the North African(NA) and Latin American and Caribbean
- Over 2012-2022, the number of food-insecure people in the 76
countries covered by this report is projected toincrease by 37
million, or 4.6 percent, much lower than the 16.7-percent increase
in population. The distribution gap is projected to remain
- Conditions in Sub-Saharan Africa do not mirror this general
finding. Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is the only region projected to
have a sizable increase (15.1 percent) in the number of
food-insecure people, althoughthe share of the population that is
food insecure is projected to fall from 42 percent in 2012 to 38
percent in 2022. The distribution gap is projected to rise nearly
19 percent, suggesting an increase in the intensity of food
insecurity in the region.
- The number of food-insecure people is projected to decline both
in the LAC countries (by nearly 15 percent)and Asian countries (2.5
percent) included in the report, while the distribution gap
declines 28 percent in both regions.
How Was the Study Conducted?
All historical and projected data were updated relative to the
International Food Security Assessment, 2011-21 report. Food
production estimates for 2011 were based on data from the United
Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as of March 2012.
Historical production data came from FAO and food aid data came
from the World Food Programme (WFP) and population data are from
the United Nations. Financial and macroeconomic data were based on
World Bank data as of March 2012. Projected macroeconomic variables
are 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
2008-10 average level of food aid throughout the next decade.