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FAO NR/ERP. Education for Rural People and Food Security. Francesco Burchi and Pasquale De Muro Department of Economics University of Rome Three. Introduction.

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education for rural people and food security



Education for Rural People and Food Security

Francesco Burchi andPasquale De Muro

Department of Economics

University of Rome Three

  • According to the latest official estimates, in the world there are about 1 billion of people that are food insecure and about 800 millions of adults that are illiterate. Food crisis.
  • The research project that we have carried out at University of Roma Tre with ERP/FAO shows that primary education is a key to long term food security of rural people in low-income countries
  • Our attention focused on rural areas because they are traditionally more disadvantaged
  • We adopted the “capability approach” and the WFS concept of food security (access to food)

Burchi and De Muro

research hypotheses
Research hypotheses
  • The hypothesis of our research is that for rural people being educated:
    • improves their capabilities of diversification of economic resources
    • increases their productivity and income
    • enhances their resilience, competitiveness and access to information
    • strengthens social cohesion and participation
  • All those elements are essential to guarantee food security in the long term

Burchi and De Muro

stages and methodology of research
Stages and methodology ofresearch
  • The research has been divided into two stages
  • In the first stage we have carried out an aggregate (“macro”) cross-country analysis on 48 LICs, while in the second stage we have implemented a deeper case study (“micro”) on a single country, Mozambique, by analysing more that 7000 observations (children)
  • For each stage we have built an econometric model and we have utilised DHS data

Burchi and De Muro



Food security


T&V training








Child health














main results of first stage i
Main results of first stage /I
  • The relation between food security and education is very strong as regards primary education, while decreases gradually when we shift toward secondary and tertiary education
  • Primary education is a crucial factor to eradicate food insecurity also compared to other factors as access to water, health, sanitation and access to economic resources

Burchi and De Muro

main results of first stage ii
Main results of first stage /II
  • The econometric model shows that by doubling the access to primary education we could reduce food insecurity by about 24%
  • Given that (1) in most of LICs the largest share of population still live in rural areas and that (2) exactly in those areas is concentrated the highest percentage of poverty and hunger at global scale, we can conclude that primary education is a fundamental tool to foster food security and development at global scale

Burchi and De Muro

the second stage of the research
The second stage of the research

Three questions to be answered:

  • how much important is mother’s education to her children’s food security in the long term?
  • which educational attainment of the mother does give major benefits?
  • which are the transmission mechanisms (channels)?

Burchi and De Muro

main results of second stage i
Main results of second stage /I
  • Mother’s scholarisation gives an highly significant contribution
    • Children whose mother has completed the entire cycle of primary education have a lower probability of suffering from hunger compared to children whose mother has an incomplete or no primary education

Burchi and De Muro

main results of second stage ii
Main results of second stage /II
  • Primary education of the mother is particularly relevant because it works by increasing knowledge, both general and nutritional. Secondary education, on the contrary, does not affect directly children’s food security, but it works indirectly by increasing household income.

Burchi and De Muro

main conclusions
Main conclusions

The results of our research suggest that for LICs:

  • investment in education of good quality for women can be an effective policy to reduce children’s food security in the long term, especially in rural areas
  • given the (limited) amount of available resources to invest in education, it is more effective and efficient to direct policies toward a reduction of inequality in the access to basic education for all, rather than to foster secondary and tertiary education for a minority of population

Burchi and De Muro

an agenda for future research
An agenda for future research
  • Using more available data
    • Observations
      • Other case studies at different scales: countries, regions, provinces and districts, rural-urban
      • Comparative analysis of case studies
    • Variables
      • Additional variables. Quality?
      • Exploring and better understanding of “channels” (transmission mechanisms)
  • Policy analysis
  • Designing and implementing ad hoc surveys
  • Knowledge sharing, networking and research co-operation

Burchi and De Muro

  • For the first stage of research
    • De Muro P. and Burchi F., Education for Rural People and Food Security: A Cross-Country Analysis, FAO and UniRoma3, Rome, 2007
  • For the second stage of research
    • Burchi F. and De Muro P., Reducing Children Food Insecurity Through Primary Education for Rural Mothers: The Case of Mozambique, FAO and UniRoma3, 2009

Burchi and De Muro