Crop and Food Security Assessment Missions

Date of Design: 
1996. Revised 2009.
Food and Agriculture Organization & World Food Programme
Contact Institution: 
Pathway Component: 
Agricultural Income, Value Chains & Market Systems, Diet, Food Access, Food Expenditure, Food Prices, Food Production, Processing & Storage


Brief Description: A Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission (CFSAM) is a comprehensive assessment of crisis-induced food security including analysis at national and household levels. It requires months of preparation and a team of technical experts and results in a detailed report of current and expected food insecurity, including specific recommendations to address the needs of the population. 

Uses: The primary purpose of a CFSAM is to provide an accurate picture of the extent and severity of crisis-induced food insecurity, existing or expected, in the country (or specific area) so that timely and appropriate actions can be taken by the government and the international community to minimize the impact on affected populations.

Tool Components:

  • Part I: Essentials & Planning
  • Part II: Organizing a CFSAM
  • Part III: Analyzing the Context, Agricultural Production, and Market Conditions
  • Part IV: Analyzing the Aggregate Food Supply/Demand Situation
  • Part V: Analyzing Household Food Security and Emergency Needs
  • Part VI: Conclusions & Recommendations


Number of Staff Required: The core team is usually comprised of an agricultural economist, an agronomist, a food security specialist and a market specialist, plus other experts such as livestock or management specialists as needed. A large number of in-country personnel also contribute to the CFSAM.

Time: Depends on the size and diversity of the area concerned and the availability and quality of existing data. Typically the preparatory phase takes one to three months, the in-country mission takes three to four weeks, and the post-mission report writing takes two to three weeks.

Cost of Assessment: Not specified; will vary according to context and availability of existing data.

Training: Technical specialists (as described above) are required. This core team of specialists is expected to provide a few days of training for data enumerators.

Geographic Targeting: A CFSAM analyzes the food security situation at the macro (national) level and micro (household and population group) level.

Type of Data Collection: Secondary data (including remote sensing, forecasts, aggregate agricultural production, and nutritional status) is analyzed. Data collection includes key informant interviews in the capital, field observations, estimations of crop yields, and interviews with informants, extension workers, traders, and households.

Degree of Technical Difficulty: This complex assessment requires in-depth technical expertise. Others participate as data enumerators, but a core team of specialists must lead the analysis and report writing.

Complements other Resources: A CFSAM is a comprehensive assessment that includes analysis of a variety of secondary data. This may include living standards/poverty assessment studies, nutrition surveys, and safety net program data. The results can inform a number of other assessments and assist with program design.

This summary is part of a larger resource called the Context Assessment Tool Locator.