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TitleTRACKING FOOD SECURITY USING NATIONAL FOOD BALANCE SHEETS: EXPERIENCES FROM EAST AFRICA
AuthorNjeru, Geoffrey R
SubjectFood Security
Date of Publication2011
PublisherAfrican Research and Resource Forum (ARRF)
Number of Pages28 pages
LanguageEnglish
Geographical CoverageKenya, Uganda, Tanzania
KeywordsFood Balance Sheets, EAC, East African Community
AbstractFood balance sheets (FBSs) trace their origin to World War II Europe when their critical role in strategizing on the food needs of soldiers became apparent. Thereafter, the FAO provided guidelines on preparation of FBSs as critical food security instruments. An FBS depicts trends in national food supply and demand which expose food deficits that may necessitate imports or medical intervention. It discloses the types of foodstuffs taken by the various segments of a national population thus bringing out the socio-cultural dimensions of food security. It establishes the food situation in a country through estimations and projections and promotes agricultural development through policy and import-export trade analysis. FBSs facilitate food trade by enabling food traders to link supply and demand. By guiding food distribution, it becomes a critical food security policy document. This paper reports some of the findings of field surveys conducted in the three EAC member states of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania in the period 2009-2011. The surveys collected primary data mainly through key informant interviews and secondary data from literature review. The effort was in line with the EAC Strategic Plan (2006/2010) which provided for a regional FBS to fast-track and harmonize regional food security policies. The field reports appeared to corroborate the findings of a 2010 EAGC study on Food Balance Sheets in the region. The findings indicated that none of the three governments had a serious national FBS as a national food policy document thus making it difficult to track food security. FBS preparation was difficult and circulation limited. Consequently, key stakeholders such as food traders, who are supposed to link supply and demand, were forced to rely mainly on informal networks. The existing national FBSs in the three countries contained inaccurate, unreliable and/or obsolete data due to lack of timely research by professionals. The paper argues that in some cases, food data were prone to political manipulation and cross-border trade was difficult to capture as most of it was illegal. Restrictive policies especially border closures inhibited structured food trade within the region. Absence of national FBS forums may explain the lack of a regional food security forum. The Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) is one of the few regional organizations that try to capture and monitor food data and trade. The paper advises that the EAC governments officially adopt FBSs as national food security planning tools and that the EAGC and research institutes take charge of harmonizing the preparation and use of national FBSs in future.
Copyright HolderAfrican Research and Resource Forum (ARRF)
Copyright URLhttp://www.arrforum.org/
Filesize324250 MB
File FormatPDF
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