20 March 2013

Food security improves in Rwanda, despite challenges

Most parts of Rwanda are witnessing improved food security, according to the third Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis and Nutrion Survey (CFSVA) that highlights challenges related to population growth, widespread poverty and high levels of chronic malnutrion.

It is said that in March/April 2012, one in five Rwandan households had unacceptable food consumption and could be considered to be food insecure.

In the latest CFSVA report released in December 2012, it pointed out that out of the total population, 4 percent of Rwandan households equivalent to 82,000 homes, had poor food consumption, which represents an extremely insufficient and unbalanced diet.

It, however, said that in the meantime having a higher number of livelihood activities is significantly associated with better food consumption and food security in Rwanda.

Although 85 percent of households in Rwanda cultivate land and rely on agriculture or livestock as the main livelihood activity, low income agriculturalists are described to be the category that have a lower food consumption on score than households that are relying on livelihoods such as employment and business.

The report published by the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal resources (MINAGRI) and the World Food Programme shows that some 60 per cent of farming households in Rwanda cultivate plots smaller than 0.5 hectares on steep slopes with poor soil fertility.

But the high percentages of households with unacceptable food consumption are especially located in the rural areas of Western Province bordering Lake Kivu (42%) and alongside the Congo Nile Crest and in several other districts of Southern province where by 70 percent of households are facing food insecurity.

Despite all the above mentionned challenges, the official report noted that Food production is increasing in Rwanda, markets are functioning relatively well and food is flowing easily within and outside the country thanks to the well-connected road network and market infrastructure.

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