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Philippines: Chronic Food Insecurity Situation 2015-2020

01/01/2015 - 31/12/2020
Analysis carried out in 71 provinces for the 2015-2020 period

Around 64% of the population nationwide which accounts for 54.9 million Filipinos are chronically food insecure (IPC-Chronic level 2 and above). Specifically, this represents 39% mild, 17% moderate and 8% severe chronic food insecure population. Population of moderately and severely food insecure account for nearly 22 million people. Of the 71 provinces analyzed:

  • Four provinces namely Lanao del Sur, Northern Samar, Occidental Mindoro and Sulu have been classified in IPC-Chronic Level 4 (Severe Chronic Food Insecurity), accounting for 658,000 people.
  • Forty-eight provinces have been classified in IPC-Chronic Level 3 (Moderate Chronic Food Insecurity) while the remaining nineteen provinces have been classified in IPC-Chronic Level 2 (Mild Chronic Food Insecurity). Approximately 21.6 million Filipinos are facing higher level chronic food insecurity (IPC-Chronic level 3 and 4). The population classified in IPC-Chronic Level 3 and 4 are of major concern which is highest in Lanao del Sur, Occidental Mindoro, and Northern Samar (50% to 52%) followed by Sulu, Masbate, Samar, Zamboanga del Norte, Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, Southern Leyte, Zamboanga Sibugay, Bukidnon, and Saranggani (40 to 49%). The population estimates providing a summary of the number and percentage of food insecure population is presented in Annex B. 

Summary of Classification Conclusions

  • Severe chronic food insecurity (IPC level 4) is driven by poor food consumption quality, quantity and high level of chronic undernutrition. 
  • In provinces at IPC level 3, quality of food consumption is worse than quantity; and chronic undernutrition is also a major problem. 
  • The most chronic food insecure people tend to be the landless poor households, indigenous people, population engaged in unsustainable livelihood strategies such as farmers, unskilled laborers, forestry workers, fishermen etc. that provide inadequate and often unpredictable income. Thus, it is likely that these people are not able to satisfy their food and non-food needs in a sustainable manner. 
  • Provinces highly susceptible to flooding, landslides and drought are prone to experience excessive stresses on their coping mechanisms.


Major contributing factors


  • Major factors limiting people from being food secure are the poor utilization of food in 33 provinces and the access to food in 23 provinces.
  • Unsustainable livelihood strategies are major drivers of food insecurity in 32 provinces followed by recurrent risks in 16 provinces and lack of financial capital in 17 provinces. 
  • In the provinces at IPC level 3 and 4, the majority of the population is engaged in unsustainable livelihood strategies and vulnerable to seasonal employment and inadequate income.
  • Low-value livelihood strategies and high underemployment rate result in high poverty incidence particularly in Sulu, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sarangani, Bukidnon, Zamboanga del Norte (Mindanao), Northern Samar, Samar (Visayas), and Masbate, Occidental Mindoro (Luzon). These economic constraints coupled with the increase in retail prices of major commodities led to a decline in purchasing power.
  • Food utilization is also poor in the majority of the provinces as evidenced by low rates of exclusive breastfeeding; and limited access to improved sources of water, toilet and cooking fuel, which mostly limit food consumption quality and caring practices.
Food Security ClustersFEWS NETFAOThe Comité permanent Inter-Etats de Lutte contre la Sécheresse dans le Sahel (CILSS)CARE InternationalACF
The World Food Programme (WFP)unicefSICASave the ChildrenOxfamThe Joint research Center (JRC) of the European CommissionIGAD