FAO launches new system to measure food insecurity

The Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization on the United Nations (FAO) is to launch a "new, faster and more precise way of measuring global hunger and food insecurity". Starting this month, the system is part of FAO's "Voices of the Hungry" pilot project and will be field-tested in four African countries: Angola, Ethiopia, Malawi and Niger.

The initiative will rely on an annual survey to gather information on the extent of hunger from food-insecure people, measuring food access at an individual level, rather than a national level, and providing a better idea of personal experiences of food insecurity.

The survey, which will be conducted in collaboration with polling specialists Gallup, will be compiled by nationally representative samples of between 1,000 and 5,000 people, depending on the country’s size. The survey is expected to be extended to up to 150 countries covered by the Gallup World Poll, with updated results on each country to be published annually.

The survey's eight questions will relate to the previous year, allowing FAO to assess food insecurity on a scale between mild, moderate and severe. Results of the surveys will provide FAO with a "real-time" snapshot of a nation's food insecurity situation.

These are the questions in the survey:

During the last 12 months, was there a time when, because of lack of money or other resources:

1.    You were worried you would run out of food?

2.    You were unable to eat healthy and nutritious food?

3.    You ate only a few kinds of foods?

4.    You had to skip a meal?

5.    You ate less than you thought you should?

6.    Your household ran out of food?

7.    You were hungry but did not eat?

8.    You went without eating for a whole day?