Calorie Availability in Sub‐Saharan Africa

Peter Svedberg

in Poverty and Undernutrition

Published in print October 2000 | ISBN: 9780198292685
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191596957 | DOI:

Series: WIDER Studies in Development Economics

 Calorie Availability in Sub‐Saharan Africa

More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • Economic Development and Growth


Show Summary Details


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

Chapter.  7169 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.