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Abstract

The recent surge in food prices around the world may reverse the gains of reducing hunger and poverty in the recent years. This paper employs factor and sequential typology analysis using data for 175 countries to identify groups of countries categorized according to four measures of food security: utilization, availability, accessibility and stability. Nine indicators are used for this study: calories intake, protein intake, fat intake, food production, the ratio of total exports to food imports, soil fertility, length of growing period, coefficient of variation of length of growing period and urbanization. The analysis first identifies 5 distinct food security groups characterized by food intake then further split these groups based on similarities and differences across the various measures of food production, trade security and agricultural potentials. The result suggests that the general category of “developing countries” is very heterogeneous and is not very useful if the focus is on issues of food security. Our food security classification is aligned with national income level and malnutrition status, but does not perfectly map to poverty headcount. The analysis provides tailored policy recommendations focusing on agricultural production for countries sharing the same typology.

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