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Foreword and acknowledgements

In the past 11 years the transition countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States have experienced the most rapid increase in poverty of any region in the world (World Bank, 2000). The Russian Federation itself experienced a decrease in GDP per capita of nearly 50 percent between 1990 and 1998. After the sudden fall in value of the rouble in the fall of 1998, there was great concern over food insecurity in the Russian Federation. In 1998, as a humanitarian response to transition difficulties, the United States and European Union governments announced food aid packages valued at over $1.5 billion for the country.

Despite great concern over Russian food insecurity both within the Russian Federation and abroad, the dimensions and character of food insecurity in the country have not been studied in a systematic manner. Part of the reason for this is the lack of representative survey material on the topic. But a more profound reason was a lack of awareness in the Russian Federation of exactly how “food security” is commonly understood by humanitarian donors. For this reason, the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) requested the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to design and manage a capacity-building technical assistance project in the Russian Federation, Food security assessment in the Russian Federation. Helping to build a world without hunger is one of the main mandates of FAO.

This report is the main output of the project Food security assessment in the Russian Federation, building on a literature survey, technical background papers and survey work during the period June 2000 to November 2001. The report was prepared by David Sedik (FAO), Sergei Sotnikov (Iowa State University) and Doris Wiesmann (Centre for Development Research, University of Bonn). The report benefited from extensive reviews within FAO from William Meyers (Agricultural and Development Economics Division), Marijke Drysdale (Food Security and Agricultural Projects Analysis Service), Jorge Mernies (Statistical Analysis Service), Prakash Shetty (Nutrition Planning, Assessment and Evaluation Service) and outside reviews from DFID and William Liefert (Economic Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture). Technical background papers cited in the references were provided by the following Russian experts: Sergei Shashnov and Ludmilia Korbut, Lilia Ovcharova, Evgeniia Serova, Aleksandr Baturin and Aleksandr Korbut. The household survey utilized in this study was undertaken by Association Agro in 11 oblasts of the Russian Federation (Khabarovsk, Volgograd, Leningrad, Rostov, Orel, Omsk, Novosibirsk, Nizhnii Novgorod, Moscow, Kirov and Sverdlovsk). The summary of the Association Agro report on the results of the household survey was written by Aleksei Emelianov (Russian Cadastre Centre “Zemlya”).

The project Food security assessment in the Russian Federation was jointly operated by the Emergency Operations Service and the Policy Assistance Branch of the Regional Office for Europe (REUP). Project coordination was provided by Bernhard d’Avis (REUP) and Raimund Jehle (REUP) with technical support from Sophia Davidova (Wye College). FAO consultants Stefan Kuellmer and Pavel Cernohorsky carried out food security assessments in Tyva and Kamchatka oblasts under the project in 2001.

Prabhu Pingali
FAO Agricultural and Development Economics Division

David Sedik
FAO Regional Office for Europe

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