Food Security and Vulnerability Assessment in Armenia, Round 3, December 2021


Executive Summary

Food Security and Vulnerability Assessments (FSVA) in Armenia track the food security situation in the country and were initiated following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the Nagorno Karabakh (NK) conflict. This is the third FSVA assessment. It was carried out in all regions of Armenia and took place from February through April 2021.

The results of the FSVA 3 show that 21.4 percent of households are food insecure in Armenia. An additional 56.4 percent of surveyed households are marginally food secure suggesting that more than half of the population are at risk of becoming food insecure in the event of a shock or a crisis. Only 1 out of 5 households (22.1 percent) in Armenia are categorized as food secure. Compared to December 2021, food insecurity levels have increased by 2.9 percentage points. The main driver behind the increased food insecurity in April 2021 is household income disruption with 21.6 percent of households not having any income source and being dependent on assistance.

The FSVA 3 results show that northern regions and households headed by women, low-income households as well as lower educated households are proportionately more exposed to food insecurity. The regional food security analysis show that Tavush (31 percent), Lori (29 percent), Shirak (28 percent), and Gegharkunik (26 percent) are the most food-insecure regions in Armenia while regional cities and rural areas are more food insecure compared to Yerevan.

Comparisons of inter-household differences in food security status show that female-headed households are 30 percent more likely to be food insecure than male-headed households. In addition, the higher monthly income of household, 192,000 AMD and above, the higher the food security level of households. Other factors found to positively influence food security in Armenia include higher education of household head, owning their house, and not being a household comprised of only elderly.

In April 2021, 3 out of 4 households (73.5 percent) in Armenia adopted livelihood coping strategies to access food while 1 out of 2 households (46.8 percent) adopted crisis or emergency livelihood coping strategies to access food. Livelihood coping strategies measure the longerterm household coping capacities. The most common coping strategies used are spending savings (46 percent), reducing non-food expenditure on health and education (33 percent), purchasing food on credit (32 percent), and borrowing money (29 percent). Adoption of emergency coping strategies was particularly high among households from rural areas (15 percent) and households with a monthly income of less than 48,000 AMD (15 percent). Households with a head not having a higher education were more than twice as likely to adopt coping strategies.

The FSVA 3 also shows that 1 out of 2 (47.9) percent of households applied reduced coping strategies. As opposed to livelihood coping strategies, reduced coping strategies measure the immediate (in the past seven days) actions households apply when they have difficulties meeting their food need and include relying on less expensive food, borrowing food, limiting portions, reducing consumption by adults, reducing number of meals. 16.9 percent of households adopted severe reduced coping strategies and at the regional level, the highest application of severe coping was reported in Lori (21.6 percent), Gegharkunik (21.2 percent), and Tavush (20.7 percent) regions.

The alarming food security status in Armenia is also reflected in household finance and food access indicators. In April 2021, 32.4 percent of households ran out of food and 21.5 percent had to skip one or more meals because there was not enough money or other resources to get food. Likewise, 32.0 percent of household reported not having access to grocery stores. In April 2021, 3 out 4 (73.5 percent) households, who did not have access to grocery stores, reported lack of financial resources as being the primary reason compared to only 1 out 2 (51.3 percent) in December 2020.

The FSVA 3 results also shed light on the quality of diet of Armenian households which is particularly worrying for children; only 45.1 percent of children between 6 and 23 months meet the minimum Acceptable Diet (MAD) requirements. The assessment finds that 17.1 percent of households in Armenia did not consume any iron-rich food during the previous 7 days while 2.0 percent did not consume any protein rich food and 2.5 percent did not consume Vitamin A-rich food. FSVA 3 results also show that only 45.1. percent of 6-23 months of children met the minimum acceptable diet. While this is 15.0 percentage points higher compared to the score during the summer in 2020, this number remain alarmingly high. This percentage is comparatively higher among 18–23-month-old children (53.0 percent), whereas for 6–17-month-old children only between 42 and 44 percent of children met the acceptable level of diet.

The FSVA 3 shows that the primary concern of Armenian households relates to the external and internal political situation. The most common concerns among interviewed households are the external political and security situation of the country (27.2 percent), financial hardships due to loss of job, livelihood source (16.1 percent), while the internal political situation, economic and social problems (16.0 percent) is the third most common concern.