Food Security

Food Security in any country is a function of the availability of locally produced food and commercially imported food. For many chronically poor countries, as well as countries suffering from massive natural disasters or wars/civil unrest, food aid is also an important component in the supply of food. The main source of agricultural, and fisheries data is the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The World Resources Institute and the  World Bank also provides substantial agricultural data online.

United Nations -- Data on the agricultural indicators related to the Millennium Development Goals is available at

Agriculture and Food Trade

FAO -- The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) provides data on a wide range of agricultural topics. There is one main data base --FAOSTAT which is available at This database allows users to build their own tables which can be downloaded into spreadsheet format, either as tables or pivot tables.  There is also a "Bulk Downloads" option on the right of the page. Note that most of the bulk downloads are formatted as "pivot" tables with "Years" in the columns. There is also an option for "All Data Normalized" which often has too many records to be loaded into a spreadsheet. Note that the FAO country name spellings and country codes are not consistent with the UN standard. For further information on using FAOSTAT data click here.There are a number of other FAO data sources spread across the website. These data sources do not have standard interfaces, some are downloadable pdf files, others provide analysis on line and some can be downloaded as spreadsheets. They are not always easy to find-- links to all of the data sources are available at, but they are often not evident. In addition, data sources by specific subject matter are linked to in a list below this main section. 

World Bank -- The World Bank provides agricultural data in time series on its World Development Indicators data base. You can get the data for the latest year for a single country from links on .

FEWSNET-- FEWS NET provides country-level shapefiles of Livelihood zones for some 35 countries and regional Food Insecurity Mapping shapefiles (three or four times a year). It also provides data on food price levels, rainfall and other data at regular intervals. The shapefiles are available at .This page includes links to other data.

 Gapminder -- Gapminder is an innovative data presentation web site which provides dynamic views of data changes over time using bubble graphs. Graphs are available for economic, population, health (including HIV/AIDS), environmental, agricultural and information technology data. Raw data can be downloaded from the site and a desktop version of the software is available free. Users can customize graphs using existing data, but cannot add new data. Much of the data used is from the World Bank and UN organizations. Gapminder is at .

IFPRI-- International Model for Policy Analysis of Agricultural Commodities and Trade (IMPACT) at

Harvest Choice--A large collection of agricultural data and shapefiles provided by IFPRI. Available at

Food Aid

WFP-- The World Food Programme is the arm of the United Nations responsible for food aid. However, WFP has stopped publishing its own estimates of global food aid data and is now referring users to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) --see below. Historical WFP data is available at

International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) IATI is a relatively new project which is developing an online database of international aid activity including food aid. The site is available at .

OECD-- Data data on food aid by donor and recipient for OECD donor countries is available at

Other nutrition pages:
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