This paper examines the application of Rapid Rural Appraisal techniques to assess the causes, dimensions and characteristics of food insecurity. A procedure referred to as a Rapid Food Security Assessment (RFSA) was carried out during November 1989 in nine communities in North Sudan using a methodology based on the 'Sondeo' approach to RRA. Interviews were carried out with representative households in the various communities using a checklist as the basis for an unstructured conversation. Although the surveys did not use wealth ranking, an effort was made to understand social stratification by asking villagers to estimate what proportion of different types of households made up the villages. More conventional data from markets was also used. The RFSA confirmed that in years with poor rainfall, the landless are doubly affected as wages fall and food prices rise. This has led to recommendations about income support through public works and grain price stabilisation.
Interesting for planners and policy makers exploring alternative means of assessing food security situations