Assessing food security in Yemen

Type Working Paper - IFPRI Discussion Paper
Title Assessing food security in Yemen
Issue 00982
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2010
The lack of updated information about food security is of concern to many countries, especially during
and after economic crises, natural disasters, and conflicts. In this paper we present an analytical
framework for assessing the effects of such crises on food security. This methodology can compensate for
the lack of recent data in the aftermath of various crisis situations and thus provide important information
to policymakers. We apply this methodology to Yemen, a country where the recent food price crisis and
global economic recession have been especially damaging. Little is known about how the recent triple
crisis (food, fuel, and financial crisis) has affected food security and what the current state of food
security is on the macro- (national) and microlevels (local). The results of our findings suggest an
alarming state of food insecurity. Food security at the macrolevel has dramatically deteriorated in recent
years, and it is projected that the country will remain highly vulnerable to external shocks in the future if
no action is taken. At the household level we found that 32.1 percent of the population in Yemen is food
insecure and that 57.9 percent of all children are malnourished. Rural-urban inequalities are high in
Yemen. The number of food-insecure people living in rural areas (37.3 percent) is more than five times
higher than in urban areas (17.7 percent). Underweight children and children with stunted growth are
found more commonly in rural than urban areas. Major challenges for food security are the lack of jobcreating
growth within the oil-dependent economic structure; a distorted economic incentive system,
coupled with an inefficient social transfer system rapidly depleting oil and water resources; and the
growing production and consumption of qat.

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