ABSTRACT

In this chapter, we contend that, of all the countries that were affected by the Ebola Virus Diseases (EVD) in 2013, Sierra Leone reported the highest number of cases of 12,901 with 3,915 deaths. The nature of the pandemic and the resultant deaths have socioeconomic and food insecurity implications for affected households. The chapter examines socio-economic determinants of food insecurity at the household level in Sierra Leone using six indicators of food insecurity. Data for the chapter are the three rounds of the High Frequency Cell Phone Survey data that was jointly collected by Statistics Sierra Leone (SSL) and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA). We generate an index of food insecurity from six household coping strategies using principal component analysis and employ random-effects and Poisson random-effects models as estimation techniques. Findings indicate that households that engage in only agriculture have a higher risk of being food insecure. On the contrary, households that have diversified their income portfolios experience a reduction in their levels of food insecurity as incomes from their non-farm enterprises experience boost. We suggest that households in fragile states engage in income diversification to mitigate the harsh conditions of food insecurity in times of an Ebola pandemic.