Food Safety occurs when there is availability, adequate intake of healthy, nutritious, and safe foods, for the good growth of humans. The objective of this research was to compare the level of food security, food availability and level of education of families in the rural parishes in the provinces of Imbabura and Carchi. The type of study was descriptive, quantitative, cross-sectional, and correlational. To obtain socio-demographic and food availability data, a structured survey was conducted. The Latin American and Caribbean Food Security Scale (ELCSA) was used to measure the level of food security. The instruction that the majority of the population reached is of complete and incomplete primary school, the same largely are engaged in agriculture. The level of food safety of adult households is mild and moderate and households consisting of adults and children under 18 years of age are mild. As regards food availability 76.9% of families have land for the planting of different food groups and livestock production on a smaller scale. Most people buy their food in the markets. In conclusion, most of the families are slightly food insecure and there is an association between food security with the availability and level of education of families.
Keywords: AvailabilityCarchieducationfood securityImbabura
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), states that food security exists, when every person at all times has economic and physical access to sufficient safe and nutritious food to meet their food needs, in order to lead an active and healthy life. Globally, strategies are promoted to reduce both poverty and population hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition (FAO, OPS, WFP & UNICEF, 2018).
In Ecuador, the prevalence of undernourishment, stunted growth in children under 5 years and obesity in adults, is the second country in Latin America and the Caribbean with the highest prevalence of stunting, it has more than one fifth of children under 5 years of age with stunted growth represented by 25.30%; it is also one of 11 countries that remains unchanged in the number of undernourished people. Since 2013, it has had a prevalence of 1.3% of undernourishment. Consequently, in severe food insecurity the country has a prevalence of 7.1% (FAO, FIDA, UNICEF, PMA & OMS, 2018).
In rural sectors, undernutrition corresponds to 44% in Ecuador and only 11% of the population accesses enough food to meet their nutritional or energy requirements, this leads to nutritional problems, showing that there is a 25.3% delay in size or chronic malnutrition, where 42.3% corresponds to the indigenous population, especially in the provinces of Chimborazo 48.8%, Bolívar 40.8% and Imbabura 30 - 39% (Freire, 2014).
According to the Ministry of Education, the average years of schooling for people aged 24 and over in 2006 to 2017 was 9.13 for the Carchi and 9.70 years for Imbabura, meaning that the majority of the population of these provinces achieved only full primary education. In addition, the years of education was 11.32 for the urban area and 7.50 for rural areas, showing that in this area there are multiple factors that limit access to education (Ministerio de Educación, 2019).
What is the relationship between Food Security, food availability and the level of education of families in rural areas of the Provinces of Imbabura and Carchi - Ecuador, 2019?
Purpose of the Study
This study was important, as the level of food security, food availability and level of education of families in rural parishes in the provinces of Imbabura and Carchi was compared. This data described sociodemographic characteristics, assessed the level of food security, identified food availability and economic conditions, and identified the level of education presented by study subjects.
This is a descriptive, quantitative, correlational investigation, which used different instruments for measuring their variables. Sociodemographic characteristics and food availability were determined through a structured survey. The level of Food Security was measured, applying the scale proposed by FAO: Latin American and Caribbean Scale of Food Security ELCSA, in the families of the rural parishes of the provinces of Imbabura and Carchi.
The population was 5879 families in rural areas of the Imbabura and Carchi provinces. The formula for the sample calculation was applied in each parish as shown in Table
N: population size p: Positive variability 0.5
Z: Confidence percentage 95% q: Negative variability 0.5
E: Error rate of 10%
The inclusion criteria were families who voluntarily agree to participate in the study and who live permanently in the study places for at least 5 years. The exclusion criteria were people who do not live permanently in the study places.
The data obtained in Table
According to data obtained from INEC (National Institute of Statistics and Censuses), most Ecuadorians in the provinces of Imbabura and Carchi are married to 42.4% and 40.7% respectively. More than 60% of the population in these two provinces self-identify as mestizos. The level of full primary stands out with 90% in ages from 5 to 14 years (INEC, 2010).
As shown in Table
•The demographic characteristics of study subjects were determined, resulting in 59.3% of the population being married, 58.5% of families living with minors, 48.1% have 4 to 6 members. In terms of the instruction level, 25.8% have incomplete primary and 28.8% full primary. The vast majority of the population with 86.3% is mestizos. It is evident that the demographic characteristics of rural areas are consistent with data from the last population census and behave very similarly.
•After implementation of the ELCSA, the level of food security in rural areas of the provinces under study was determined, resulting in the majority of people in both Imbabura and Carchi having a mild level of food security followed by the moderate level. However, the concern is that there is still a low percentage of families with a severe level of food security, higher in Imbabura than in Carchi.
•The availability of food in Imbabura and Carchi considering domestic production, 65.6% of families have their own land, however, 23.1% do not own it. 64.6% plant food on their land and spend their agricultural and livestock production on a smaller scale, for their own consumption and sale. Regarding livestock production, 21.4% is dedicated to poultry farming followed by beef, but 44.2% is not engaged in this activity. 37.7% of families sell livestock production and refer to 53.6% of families that have droughts during the year. According to the purchase of food, 69.7% of families buy their food in the market followed by the neighborhood store. 94% earn equal to or less than the unified basic salary. The amount they spend on monthly food purchases is $25 – $50 for 36.9% of families and $51 to $100 per month for 32.4%. Only 20% of families receive the solidarity bond.
•A statistically significant association was found between the variables of food security with availability and the level of education of the families, with a p value less than 0.05 but a weak association. Therefore, it is concluded that the availability of food and the level of education of families influences the level of food security.
A special thanks to the students of the Nutrition career who collaborated for the data collection and to the authorities of the UTN for the support provided for this research.
- Comité Científico de la ELCSA. (2012). Escala Latinoamericana y Caribeña de Seguridad Alimentaria (ELCSA) [Latin American and Caribbean Food Security Scale]. Roma: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 1-83.
- Freire, G. (2014). Tomo I: Encuesta Nacional de Salud y Nutrición de la población ecuatoriana de cero a 59 años. ENSANUT-ECU 2012 [Volume I: National Survey of Health and Nutrition of the Ecuadorian population from zero to 59 years]. Quito: Ministerio de Salud Pública/Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas y Censos.
- Ministerio de Educación. (Marzo de 2019). Índice de indicadores - Ministerio de Educación [Index of indicators - Ministry of Education]. Retrieved on 18 April 2020, from https://educacion.gob.ec/indice-de-indicadores/
- Muñoz-Astudillo, M., Martínez, J., & Quintero, A. (2010). Validación de la Escala Latinoamericana y Caribeña de Seguridad Alimentaria en gestantes adolescentes [Validating Latin-American and Caribbean Latin-American food security scale on pregnant adolescents]. Rev. salud pública, 12(2), 173-183.
- National Institute of Statistics and Censuses. (2010). Población y Demografía | Ecuador en cifras [Population and Demography | Ecuador in figures]. Retrieved April 18, 2020, from https://www.ecuadorencifras.gob.ec/censo-de-poblacion-y-vivienda/
- The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. (2010). Políticas de Seguridad e Inocuidad y Calidad Alimentaria en América Latina y el Caribe [Safety and Food Safety and Quality Policies in Latin America and the Caribbean]. Santiago: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations / Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean.
- The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, The International Fund for Agricultural Development, World Health Organization, World Food Program & The United Nations Children's Fund. (2019). El estado de la seguridad alimentaria y la nutrición en el mundo 2019. Protegerse frente a la desaceleración y el debilitamiento de la economía [The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019. Protect yourself from the slowdown and weakening of the economy]. Roma: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 348p..
- The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, The International Fund for Agricultural Development, The United Nations Children's Fund, World Food Program & World Health Organization. (2018). El estado de la seguridad alimentaria y la nutrición en el mundo [The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World]. Roma: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2018p.
- The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Panamerican Health Organization, WFP & The United Nations Children's Fund. (2018). Panorama de la seguridad alimentaria y nutricional en América Latina y el Caribe [Overview of food and nutrition security in Latin America and the Caribbean]. Santiago: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
About this article
01 June 2021
Print ISBN (optional)
Health, well-being, comprehensive health, psychosocial risks, education, pedagogical processes, social development, human behavior
Cite this article as:
Gómez, A., Silva, C., Méndez, E., & Espín, M. (2021). Comparison of Food Security and The Level of Education in Ecuador. In C. Guzmán Torres, & J. V. Barba (Eds.), Psychosocial Risks in Education and Quality Educational Processes, vol 109. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 117-126). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.06.12