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Poverty and UndernutritionTheory, Measurement, and Policy$
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Peter Svedberg

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198292685

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198292686.001.0001

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Calorie Availability in Sub‐Saharan Africa

Calorie Availability in Sub‐Saharan Africa

(p.79) 6 Calorie Availability in Sub‐Saharan Africa
Poverty and Undernutrition

Peter Svedberg (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The national per‐capita food (calorie) availability is by far the most important parameter in the FAO estimations; it explains 97% of the variation in the inter‐country estimates of the prevalence of undernutrition. In this chapter, the methods used by the FAO to gauge national food supplies (the food balance sheets) are scrutinized, with special attention to sub‐Saharan Africa (where undernutrition is by far the most prevalent according to the FAO). The FAO method is found to be very subjective and the estimates for this region are highly unreliable and, most probably, downward biased. The most compelling evidence of bias comes from South Asia, where the primitive methods still in use in sub‐Saharan Africa for estimating acreage under crops were replaced by scientific methods in the 1960s. It was then found that crops (acreage) had previously been underestimated by some 25% in India and Pakistan.

Keywords:   acreage, Africa, bias, calorie availability, FAO, India, Pakistan, scientific methods, undernutrition

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