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Towards better measurement of household food security: Harmonizing indicators and the role of household surveys

Calogero Carletto, Alberto Zezza, Raka Banerjee
Global food security 2013 v.2 no.1 pp. 30-40
data collection, food security, household surveys, monitoring, nutrition, periodicity, stakeholders
A variety of indicators are currently used for food security analysis, monitoring, and programming, and most agencies have their preferred variant on methods of data collection, aggregation, and analysis. This lack of consensus is reflected in an inefficient multiplicity of survey instruments collecting information on various dimensions of food and nutrition security, with tremendous variation in the content, quality, and quantity of the information collected. No single existing survey instrument will ever be able to collect all needed indicators at the desired periodicity, and no single institution has either the mandate or the ability to measure and monitor food security in its many dimensions on a global scale. However, with better coordination across institutions and survey efforts, the state of food security measurement worldwide can be greatly improved. This paper attempts to identify the elements of a strategy, built around a combination of short-term fixes and long-term methodological advancements, to reverse the existing trends of poor coordination and slow methodological innovation in food security measurement and monitoring. International focus on a small dashboard of indicators, collected on a regular basis by different stakeholders through a number of available data collection options, is feasible and can be partially achieved by repurposing existing surveys to better suit food security monitoring goals.