Rapid Food Security Assessments (RFSA) are especially useful for determining the causes, dimensions and characteristics of the food security situation in a given area. They are a type of Rapid Rural Appraisal and are particularly good for identifying the most food insecure groups in a given area and the causes and magnitude of the food security situation. The targeting and timing of a RFSA will be triggered by an early warning system already in place in a region susceptible to food shortages. The general procedure followed in most assessments involves: reviewing secondary data to familiarize the team with the sociocultural, econmomic, and ecological attributes of the area, open-ended interview guides to ensure that pertinent issues are covered, and group, household and key informant interviews to gather information about the local situation. RFSAs use other RRA techniques such as maps, diagrams and ranking exercises to elicit a local perspective on resources, constraints, wealth distribution and seasonal trends. Upon completion of a survey, contingency plans should be drawn up to link information to response.
Useful for those wishing to use food security techniques at district levels, predominantly for planning and prediction
Office of Arid Lands Studies, College of Agriculture, University of Arizona