Food security and livelihoods

Food Security has a direct impact on the nutritional and health status of people. It exists when "all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life." Often reduced to the issue of the availability of food, Food Security has four interrelated pillars: (1) food availability concerns production, markets and other issues that determine whether food is physically present in a given context; (2) food access concerns the factors which determine whether or not people can obtain sufficient food; (3) food utilization depends upon factors that determine how people store and use food, feeding practices and health status (e.g., elderly, lactating women); and (4) food stability, which is the ability of people to rely on food's availability and access. Food Security is often closely linked to Nutrition.

Team assessing crops

Photo: European Union/ECHO/Melaku Asefa

Key references

Minimum standards helping humanitarian actors ensure adequate food security in humanitarian contexts

Yearly report monitoring progress of the Sustainable Development Goals related to food security and malnutrition, while also providing an analysis of the underlying causes and drivers of observed trends

Reference manual on the management of emergency nutrition field situations for humanitarian workers and medical professionals with limited nutrition training in emergencies

Latest discussions

Key actors

Public platform, co-led by FAO and WFP, aiming to improve coordination and partnerships, to provide operational support, to build the capacity of stakeholders, and to ensure improved food security responses in humanitarian settings

Helps eliminate food insecurity by making agriculture, forestry, and fisheries more productive and sustainable by reducing rural poverty and by increasing the resilience of livelihoods. Publishes the yearly State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World Report.

Provides food or cash-based assistance to persons lacking access to adequate food, and strengthens capacities of national stakeholders to support the achievement of food security goals

Open community of food security and nutrition implementers seeking to share information, technical knowledge and best practices, to shape agendas, and to understand and influence donor priorities

Learning resources

Introductory course material on the concept of food security, the key dimensions used to analyze people’s food security status, and the variations of severity and duration of people’s food insecurity status