Is Hunger Destined to be Perpetual in Burundi?

Lincoln J. Fry


Hunger is a worldwide problem, and Africa is the continent with the world’s highest percentage of hungry persons; Burundi is Africa’s hungriest country. This paper addresses hunger in Burundi and then identifies the factors that predict hunger in that country. Burundi is a rural country and its rural population will receive a great deal of attention in this paper, especially because the study looks closely at literature’s suggestion that farmers may be hungrier than the rest of the population, and gender may be a factor. This study is based on a national probability sample of 1,200 Burundi respondents included in Round 6 of the Afrobarometer survey conducted in 2014. The search is for policy related factors that would help alleviate Burundi’s hunger problem. To preview the findings, this study did not find any light at the end of the tunnel. The factors that predicted hunger were primarily immutable indicators, education, agriculture as an occupation, and wealth, as measured by assets owned. Over 80 percent of the respondents felt the government was not ensuring that people had enough to eat. Eighty-seven percent were unemployed, 86 percent were rural residents and 71 percent of the respondents reported some degree of hunger, about one-fourth reported being hungry all of the time. The gender and hunger relationship was significant at the bivariate level, but that relationship disappeared in the ordered logistical analysis.

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