Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Food Security

FAO monitors the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) hunger indicator 1.9 (prevalence of undernourishment) and the World Food Summit (WFS) hunger target (number of undernourishment) using country agricultural and food data. The indicators on undernourishment are estimated using a probability methodological framework based on four main basic parameters or food security indicators as follows:

Countries are required to regularly monitor and report progress towards achieving those hunger targets and should therefore apply the FAO methodological framework to their agricultural and food data for the estimation of both MDG and WFS hunger targets. Unfortunately, only a few countries are able to regularly monitor and report of those hunger indicators on due to scarcity of appropriate skills and human resources couple with inconsistent and untimely related agricultural and food data.

FAO is providing technical assistance to its member countries for strengthen the skills of the nationals in the collection, processing and analysis of agricultural and food data through various global, regional and country initiatives. FAORAP has recently initiated a regional initiative to support countries of the region of Asia and the Pacific aiming at strengthening capacity of the national statistical system in Asia in analyzing agriculture and food data for quality food security and nutrition information in support of better informed policies. This new initiative draws on the successful 2011-12 Thailand food security project where the national statistical and agricultural institutions of Thailand updated their agricultural and food data using FAO methodologies, guidelines, standards and tools. The Thai nationals were able to successfully compile Thailand annual Food Balance Sheet (FBS) and derive food security indicators from the available food consumption data useful for the measurement of the prevalence of undernourishment, the MDG hunger indicator. The updated data and statistics showed that Thailand has already achieved both the MDG and WFS hunger targets well ahead the target year of 2015. The lesson learnt from the Thailand project in improving capacity through learning by doing and based on this good practice, this country initiative has been up-scaled to a regional initiative. Bangladesh, Lao PDR, Nepal and Philippines are presented implementing the 2013/2015 regional project.

This FAORAP regional initiative establishes and reinforces international standard practice, and provides analytical tools and guidance to produce quality and timely food security and nutrition statistics. The initiative eventually aims to contribute to sound policy making and resource allocation aiming at eradication of hunger, food security and malnutrition.

The main objectives of the regional initiative are:

  • To improve the co-ordination and establish linkages between all national institutions involved in the collection, processing and analysis of food and agriculture data;-
  • To improve the statistical collection and analytical capacity of the national statistical systems for the implementation of new methodologies to generate better and more information on food and nutrition security using country food and agriculture data;
  • To support the multisectoral taskforce in using food and nutrition statistics for the policy processes in decision-making.

The initiative sets up appropriate institutional arrangements as to improve the working relations of all national institutions producing agriculture and food data and produces the following outputs:

  1. Country’s regular yearly harmonized FBS;
  2. Consistent and reliable food security, nutrition and sex-disaggregated statistics including the hunger indicator (prevalence of undernourishment-MDG 1.9) for reporting progress on MDG and WFS targets at national level; and.
  3. Country’s flagship technical "Country Food Security and Nutritional Status" report.

The DIETARY ENERGY SUPPLY (DES) for human consumption is estimated through the preparation of countries’ food Supply and Utilization Accounts (SUA) for compiling annual Food Balance Sheet (FBS).

The MINIMUM DIETARY ENERGY REQUIREMENT (MDER) is the amount of energy needed for light activity and minimum acceptable weight for attained-height. MDER varies by country and from year to year depending on the gender and age structure of the country’s population. For an entire population, the MDER is the weighted average of the minimum energy requirements of the different gender-age groups in the population. It is expressed as kilocalories (kcal) per person per day.

The COEFFICIENT OF VARIATION OF DIETARY ENERGY CONSUMPTION (CVx), as defined by FAO, comprises two main components; one reflecting the inequality of food consumption associated with socioeconomic levels (CV(x/v) ) and the other associated with biological (CV(x/r ) factors(sex, age, body weight and physical activity) as follows:


SKEWNESS is a measure of the asymmetry of the probability distribution of the dietary energy consumption.

The FOOD BALANCE SHEET (FBS) are derived for each commodity using data on food production and imports and opening-year food stocks after deduction of food export and end-year food stocks and all non-food consumption (animal feed, industrial use, seed, wastage and other non-food use); this estimate refers to both private and public food consumption.

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