A data-driven approach improves food insecurity crisis prediction

Published on Oct 1, 2019in World Development
· DOI :10.1016/J.WORLDDEV.2019.06.008
Erin C. Lentz12
Estimated H-index: 12
(University of Texas at Austin),
Hope C. Michelson8
Estimated H-index: 8
(UIUC: University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign)
+ 1 AuthorsYujun Zhou1
Estimated H-index: 1
(UIUC: University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign)
Abstract Globally, over 800 million people are food insecure. Current methods for identifying food insecurity crises are not based on statistical models and fail to systematically incorporate readily available data on prices, weather, and demographics. As a result, policymakers cannot rapidly identify food insecure populations. These problems delay responses to mitigate hunger. We develop a replicable, near real-time model incorporating spatially and temporally granular market data, remotely-sensed rainfall and geographic data, and demographic characteristics. We train the model on 2010–2011 data from Malawi and forecast 2013 food security. Our model correctly identifies the food security status of 83 to 99% of the most food insecure village clusters in 2013, depending on the food security measure, while the prevailing approach correctly identifies between 0 and 10%. Our results show the power of modeling food insecurity to provide early warning and suggest model-driven approaches could dramatically improve food insecurity crisis response.
  • References (24)
  • Citations (2)
📖 Papers frequently viewed together
1 Author (Tim Hart)
39 Citations
6 Citations
24 Citations
78% of Scinapse members use related papers. After signing in, all features are FREE.
#1Erwin KnippenbergH-Index: 1
#2Nathaniel D. Jensen (ILRI: International Livestock Research Institute)H-Index: 8
Last. Mark A. Constas (Cornell University)H-Index: 5
view all 3 authors...
Abstract Resilience as a metric is of growing interest to development researchers and practitioners, particularly for those whose work concerns the effects of climate change, conflict and epidemics. The growing need for resilience measurements motivates this research, measurements that reflect the complex, dynamic features of welfare among populations living in shock-prone contexts. It presents insights from three measurement approaches to explore the dynamic, intra-annual effects of shocks on h...
3 CitationsSource
#1Melissa Hidrobo (IFPRI: International Food Policy Research Institute)H-Index: 12
#2John Hoddinott (Cornell University)H-Index: 57
Last. Meghan Olivier (IFPRI: International Food Policy Research Institute)H-Index: 2
view all 4 authors...
Summary The last two decades have seen a rapid rise in social protection programs and studies that assess their impacts on a large number of domains. We construct a new database of studies of these programs that report impacts on food security outcomes and asset formation. Our meta-analysis finds that social protection programs improve both the quantity and quality of food consumed by beneficiaries. The magnitudes of these effect sizes are meaningful. The average social protection program increa...
20 CitationsSource
#1Alex de WaalH-Index: 27
#1de Waal AH-Index: 28
ContentsPreface and AcknowledgementsPart I: Perspectives on Famine and StarvationChapter 1: An Unacknowledged AchievementChapter 2: Famines as AtrocitiesChapter 3: Malthus's ZombieChapter 4: A Short History of Modern FaminesPart II: How Famines Were Almost EliminatedChapter 5: Demography, Economics, Public HealthChapter 6: Politics, War, GenocideChapter 7: The Humanitarian InternationalChapter 8: Ethiopia: No Longer the Land of FaminePart III: The Persistence and Return of FaminesChapter 9: The ...
9 Citations
#1Meredith T. Niles (UVM: University of Vermont)H-Index: 13
#2Molly E. Brown (UMD: University of Maryland, College Park)H-Index: 29
Given that smallholder farmers are frequently food insecure and rely significantly on rain-fed agriculture, it is critical to examine climate variability and food insecurity. We utilize data from smallholder farmer surveys from 12 countries with 30 years of rainfall data to examine how rainfall variability and household resources are correlated with food security. We find that on average, households that experienced a drier than average year are 3.81 months food insecure, while households within...
9 CitationsSource
#1Aulo Gelli (IFPRI: International Food Policy Research Institute)H-Index: 11
#2Noora-Lisa Aberman (Johns Hopkins University)H-Index: 2
Last. Ephraim Chirwa (UNIMA: University of Malawi)H-Index: 17
view all 6 authors...
: Background: There is evidence that social transfers increase food consumption, improving the quantity and quality of food consumed by poor households. Questions remain on how to improve the effectiveness of social programs.Objective: The aim was to assess the impact of a lean-season food transfer on household food security, diet, and nutrition status of young children during the lean season in Malawi and to understand processes through which transfers operated.Methods: This was a longitudinal,...
8 CitationsSource
#1Bapu Vaitla (Tufts University)H-Index: 10
#2Jennifer Coates (Tufts University)H-Index: 21
Last. Daniel Maxwell (Tufts University)H-Index: 32
view all 6 authors...
•Food security is a theoretical construct that can only be measured indirectly.•The multidimensionality of food security complicates its measurement.•This paper analyses the relationships among four common food security indicators.•Factor analysis shows that indicators align with two different dimensions.•Results suggest utilizing such indicators in a complementary manner.
15 CitationsSource
Abstract This paper investigates linear growth and weight gain among 11,946 children below the age of 5 y in Nepal and Uganda, testing the hypothesis that child growth is sensitive to precipitation during key periods in a child's early life. The paper also tests the importance of the economic and physical environments in which children reside. Outcomes are not completely explained by agricultural performance or the observed characteristics of children or their households. Associations between he...
20 CitationsSource
#1Alex Nikulkov (Stanford University)H-Index: 1
#2Christopher B. Barrett (Cornell University)H-Index: 77
Last. Lawrence M. Wein (Stanford University)H-Index: 45
view all 4 authors...
The U.S. is the main country in the world that delivers its food assistance primarily via transoceanic shipments of commodity-based in-kind food. This approach is costlier and less timely than cash-based assistance, which includes cash transfers, food vouchers, and local and regional procurement, where food is bought in or nearby the recipient country. The U.S.’s approach is exacerbated by a requirement that half of its transoceanic food shipments need to be sent on U.S.-flag vessels. We estimat...
3 CitationsSource
#1Neal Jean (Stanford University)H-Index: 8
#2Marshall Burke (Stanford University)H-Index: 33
Last. Stefano Ermon (Stanford University)H-Index: 32
view all 6 authors...
Reliable data on economic livelihoods remain scarce in the developing world, hampering efforts to study these outcomes and to design policies that improve them. Here we demonstrate an accurate, inexpensive, and scalable method for estimating consumption expenditure and asset wealth from high-resolution satellite imagery. Using survey and satellite data from five African countries—Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, and Rwanda—we show how a convolutional neural network can be trained to identify i...
357 CitationsSource
#1Chris Funk (UCSB: University of California, Santa Barbara)H-Index: 35
#2P. Peterson (UCSB: University of California, Santa Barbara)H-Index: 11
Last. Joel Michaelsen (UCSB: University of California, Santa Barbara)H-Index: 31
view all 11 authors...
The Climate Hazards group Infrared Precipitation with Stations (CHIRPS) dataset builds on previous approaches to ‘smart’ interpolation techniques and high resolution, long period of record precipitation estimates based on infrared Cold Cloud Duration (CCD) observations. The algorithm i) is built around a 0.05° climatology that incorporates satellite information to represent sparsely gauged locations, ii) incorporates daily, pentadal, and monthly 1981-present 0.05° CCD-based precipitation estimat...
784 CitationsSource
Cited By2
#1Daniel Maxwell (Tufts University)H-Index: 32
#2Abdullahi KhalifH-Index: 1
Last. Francesco Checchi (Lond: University of London)H-Index: 32
view all 4 authors...
Abstract Famine was, until recently, largely a matter of historical or theoretical interest, but the “four famines” threat of 2017 demonstrated that Somalia in 2011 was not an aberration or outlier: famine is a contemporary reality and threat. Current methods of famine analysis however tend to emphasize the severity of current-status indicators as the sole dimension of analysis. This article argues that a more multi-dimensional view is required for a full understanding of famine, including not o...
1 CitationsSource
#1Kurt B. WaldmanH-Index: 9
#2Stacey GirouxH-Index: 4
Last. Tom P. Evans (UA: University of Arizona)H-Index: 29
view all 5 authors...
For smallholder farmers in developing countries, agricultural production is seasonal yet food demand is constant throughout the year. One fundamental agricultural decision is how much harvest to sell versus store for subsequent household consumption. Little is known about the temporal dimensions of grain storage, the extent to which storage levels vary over time, and the diversity of food storage patterns across different household types. This paper examines household level maize storage consump...
1 CitationsSource