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PLA Notes CD-ROM 1988-2001 4 Information for food security planning: asking local people Case studies from Sudan and Mali

Information needs for food security planning are typically determined by donors or national government. Whilst the need to promote food security planning at sub-national as well as national level has received attention in recent years, much information collection to support it has been of a top-down data-orientated nature. Huge resources have been invested in ‘high tech’ methods of collecting information. Satellite imagery is the obvious example. Attempts to find objective indicators to quantify food insecurity have been a driving force. One of the consequences of this has been a tendency to centralise the processes of information collection and analysis and to reduce ground truthing. Information collection is distanced from the very people it is supposed to be about. The complex factors affecting food security are simplified in the pursuit of perfecting techniques to monitor only one or two key factors.

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