How Stable are the Pillars of Food Security? Pillar one: Food Availability

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Ocean Science in Action - Oceans of the future

9. Small Pelagic Fisheries of Pemba Channel, Tanzania

9.3 How Stable are the Pillars of Food Security? Pillar one: Food Availability

Video duration - 05:43

What role do small-scale fishers play in ensuring food availability?

Fisheries are an integral part of ensuring food security worldwide with fish providing around 7% of total protein consumed by humans. The fishery industry also provides direct and indirect employment for about 200 million people worldwide. Nine out of ten people involved in capture fisheries are small-scale fishers, and are responsible for around half of the 60 million tonnes of marine fish caught for direct human consumption every year. Small-scale fisheries therefore directly increase the availability of food for local, national, and international markets while also enabling people involved in the sector to receive a source of income.

Measuring Food Availability

Information on food availability most commonly comes from national, regional, and sub-regional food balance sheets. This information is available on the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations food balance sheet database. It is important to note that these food balance sheets, as a proxy for food availability, only represent the supply of food at the national level. The balance sheets are useful aggregate indicators on food consumption, but they do not represent consumption patterns or information on food security at the household level.

When addressing Marine Food Security, it is important to assess the household level, as small-scale fisheries and coastal communities are not always accurately represented in national level statistics in areas such as the Western Indian Ocean. Statistical tools have been developed to measure household food availability, such as Hentschel et al. (2000). This tool estimates a model of household welfare using household survey data and then aggregates the household level results by a larger geographical region by taking the mean of the probabilities for the area.

Dr S. Taylor - NOC, Dr N. Jiddawi - IMS, Zanzibar, Tanzania

See also:

Food And Agriculture Organisation Of The United Nations Food Balance Sheet Database
Food Balance Sheet presents a comprehensive picture of the pattern of a country's food supply during a specified reference period. The food balance sheet shows for each food the sources of supply and its utilization.

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