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Food security - Introduction

Modified on 2013/05/14 15:55 by Administrator Paths: Read in Order Categorized as Chapter 2 - Food security
Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life” (World Food Summit, 1996). Three dimensions are key in defining, measuring and analyzing food security: availability, access and utilization of food (FAO, 2006; WFP, 2009a; 2009b). Food availability is the physical presence of food in the area of concern supplied through domestic production, national stocks, commercial imports, and food aid. Food access concerns people’s ability to acquire/access adequate amount of food through own production and stocks, purchase, in-kind payment of work, bartering, gifts, and formal/informal aid. Food utilization regards households’ use of food as well as individuals’ ability to absorb the nutrients. It includes a variety of issues, such as food storage/processing, preparation practices, infant and young child feeding practices, hygiene practices, and access to safe water and sanitation. The first dimension, of food availability, is measured through aggregated macro-level statistics and therefore not meaningful to discuss from a gender perspective. The last two dimensions of food security – food access and food utilization – can be measured at household and/or individual level and are most relevant from a gender perspective, as shown in the following two subsections.

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