Cablegate: 2009 Rwandan Food Security and Nutrition Survey


DE RUEHLGB #0773 3241129
P 201129Z NOV 09




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (U) Summary: The National Institute of Statistics of
Rwanda released the 2009 Comprehensive Food Security and
Vulnerability Analysis and Nutrition Survey. The survey
analyzes nutrition trends over time by examining the extent,
depth and causes of food and nutrition insecurity and
vulnerability in Rwanda. Key findings in the survey are:
rates of 52 percent and 4.6 percent among children for
stunting and wasting respectively; and households with
considerable dependence on agriculture, including
agricultural laborers are especially vulnerable. The survey
recommends increasing agricultural output, creating a
vulnerability reduction strategy, developing vocational
skills, and developing supplementary feeding and targeted
nutrition programs. End Summary.

Key Questions

2. (U) The survey focused on answering five key questions:
what populations currently face food insecurity and
malnutrition; how many are there; where do they live; why are
they food insecure/malnourished; and how can food assistance
and other interventions make a difference in reducing
poverty? Surveyors collected data between February and March
2009 from 5400 rural households.

Findings and Recommendations

3. (U) At the national level the survey found a 7 percent
malnutrition rate among women of reproductive age (15-49
years). Rates for chronic and acute malnutrition among
children are 52 and 4.6 percent respectively. There was a
statistically insignificant change in rate among children
from the previous survey that was completed in 2005. However,
according to the study, the percentage of underweight
children decreased from 20 percent to 15.8 percent. (Note:
The percentage of underweight children is an indicator used
by the UN to measure Millennium Development Goal 1. The goal
is to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. End Note.)
According to the study the highest stunting rates (55
percent) are among the population with considerable
dependence on agriculture, including farm laborers.
Geographically the most food insecure households are in the
districts of Nyabihu, Ngororero, Nyaruguru, and Nyamagabe.

4. (U) According to the survey factors such as female-headed
households, the presence of a chronically-ill person, and
cultivation of less than 0.1 hectare decrease food security.
Contrarily, ownership of livestock and diversity of
agricultural production are associated with greater food
security. According to the survey, the most frequently
reported shocks that reduce food security are drought,
irregular rains, and dry spells.

5. (U) Due to the diverse nature and sources of
vulnerability, the key recommendation of the survey is for a
broad-based, multi-sector approach that integrates food
security, nutrition, and disaster management programs with
the national poverty reduction program. The survey also
recommends that the GOR increase agricultural output, develop
vocational skills, and develop supplementary feeding and
targeted nutrition programs for children under five years of
age, as well as school-age children and women of reproductive

6. (SBU) Comment: Although the GOR has made great strides in
increasing agricultural productivity, chronic and acute
malnutrition continue to effect the population. Farmers, on
average, have access to approximately one acre of land to
grow food for their family, which when combined with high
rainfall variability may render them food insecure. Following
the survey period, the GOR embarked on a nationwide campaign
with its partners to identify and treat severely malnourished

children. The campaign, now concluded, distributed food
supplements and therapeutic milk, provided nutritional
services and education, and developed demonstration family
gardens. The GOR response was coordinated by the Ministries
of Health, Local Affairs, and Agriculture. Emergency response
and nutrition education are a component of the GOR
agriculture investment plan (reftel). Ministry of Agriculture
nutrition support is part of a coordinated national effort
with Health, Education and other Ministries. End Comment.

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