Bosnia & Herzegovina: Food Security,1995

The March/April 1995 follow-up to the previous food security surveys, sponsored by UNHCR and WFP, revisited most of the same communities as in the earlier surveys. Military conditions, however, did not permit revisiting of the four sites in the Bihac pocket. Time trend comparisons were thus possible for 37 communities in seven operational regions. The proportion reporting food shortages declined across all geographic areas. Only in Sarajevo proper was it the majority opinion that food supply was worse now than the previous year. Commercial food trade had increased substantially since the 1994 study and there was strong evidence of increased household involvement in the commercial food market. Reported dependence on food aid — not to be confused with shortage of food — was again evaluated by asking households what they would do if aid stopped next month. Only two percent (last year nine percent) of households said they saw UNHCR as their main support during the worst months of the preceding year. The decline in breastfeeding continued. Region and age-specific analysis suggested that there was an increase in malnutrition under the age of five years. Children in households receiving food aid had malnutrition risks similar to those in households not receiving food aid, in both 1994 and 1995. The implication is that food aid had little to do with emerging patterns of malnutrition, which may have been due rather to the decline in breast feeding or to increased commercialization of food.