Update: Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis and Nutrition Survey Rwanda, 2012

world-food-programme-wfpThe World Food Programme (WFP) carries out baseline surveys within countries to get a better understanding of the food security situation and the vulnerability of households. Entitled the Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis (CVFSA), over 80 of these surveys, since 2003, have been carried out.

The 2009 Rwanda CVFSA and Nutrition Survey was discussed in One Billion Hungry in chapters 2 and 6. This survey being an update on the 2006 CVFSA.  Now a further 2012 CVFSA and Nutrition Survey for Rwanda has been carried out and here we lay out some of the top line results.

The survey seeks to “analyse trends of food insecurity and malnutrition over time, measuring their extent and depth and identifying their underlying causes”. The survey was led by the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI), the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR) and the WFP and supported and coordinated by a myriad of agencies and organisations.

The study found that in general food production was increasing; markets were functioning relatively well and that food movement within and outside the country was relatively free flowing due to a well-connected road network and market infrastructure.

But:

  • 51% of all households reported some type of difficulty accessing food
  • 14% of households have usual and almost year round chronic difficulties in accessing food
  • A total of 21% of households are food insecure

The characteristics of food insecure households were also investigated:

  • High percentages of food insecure households are in rural areas and where soils are less fertile and land is more susceptible to erosion
  • Kigali, the capital, has the highest proportion of households with acceptable food consumption (93%)
  • Food insecure households are typically poor, rural households living in crowded housing depending on low income agriculture or casual labour
  • They rely on a small number of livelihood activities
  • The further households are located from a main road or market the more likely they are to be food insecure
  • Food insecure households involved in agriculture are likely to farm small plots of land (less than 0.5ha)

Malnutrition in children and women was also a key component of the study:

  • The prevalence of underweight children between 6 months and 5 years is 12%
  • The prevalence of chronic malnutrition (stunting) in this age group is ‘very high’ at 43%
  • Stunted children are more likely to live in poor, crowded, rural households that are further away from key services. They often have young, lowly educated mothers who are stunted themselves
  • Children between 1 and 2 years who had consumed milk products were significantly less stunted than other children in the same age category
  • 4% of reproductive age women were stunted, 17% overweight and 7% wasted.

The report also sets out recommendations around key themes for improving food and nutrition security in Rwanda based on these results:

  • Improving coverage and targeting of assistance and social protection safety nets;
  • Upgrading household living conditions, strengthening livelihood strategies and tackling poverty;
  • Developing and diversifying agricultural production;
  • Building community resilience to food and nutrition insecurity;
  • Improving child food consumption;

Monitoring and further analysing the food security and malnutrition situation.

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