A profile of food insecurity dynamics in rural and small town Ethiopia
Using panel data from the Ethiopia Socioeconomic Survey (ESS), representative of all people living in rural and small-town areas, this paper describes changing patterns of food security between 2012 and 2014. We examine four measures of food security – two consumption based (calories and dietary diversity) and two experience based (whether food insecurity was experienced in any month, and whether any actions were taken in response).Over all four measures in both years, the share of the food insecure population was never less than 25 percent. Disentangling chronic from transitory food insecurity is important for policy design and for estimating the total food insecurity count over time. For example, the average rate of inadequate dietary diversity was approximately 30 percent in both 2012 and 2014, but the panel data reveal that 46 percent of the rural and small-town population had inadequately diverse diets at some point over the period. While the cross-sectional estimates suggest similar patterns in levels and trends of the measures, the panel data reveal that there is very little comovement of the measures. For example, observing that someone has improved in terms of dietary diversity does not reveal information as to whether she or he has similarly improved in terms of the experiential-based measures.
Keywords: Ethiopia, food security, poverty
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