Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Dr. Osei-Agyemang Yeboah


Food security has been a challenge for most people all over the world, especially among people living in low income countries. Food security is considered a complex sustainable development issue and is linked to health through malnutrition due to poverty. Food security became a major challenge following the sharp increase in global food prices during the last decade. Several factors contribute to food security. One factor is international trade which plays a major role in shaping the economy in most countries of the world. Access to food which is supposed to be an entitlement, or a basic right can be impacted by trade policies that can consequently affect food security. Today, many people across the world go to bed hungry due to unavailability of food. Even if food is available, it is often very expensive for the majority, especially those in low- and middle-income economies. Most of whom are small scale farmers from developing countries, who depend solely on agriculture to meet the basic needs of their families. These small-scale farmers lack the necessary skills to compete for resources such as agricultural credit or research that can boost their finances. Due to the negative implications that food insecurity has on society, various governments over the years have often resorted to measures such as domestic food prices reduction through trade to resolve food insecurity issues. However, long term food insecurity risks remain and require more multilateral cooperation. Any country’s development depends on its ability to access international markets and this requires multilateral cooperation as well. An example is the agreement to remove restrictions imposed on international trade by developed countries with respect to developing countries, especially low-income and low-middle income economies. Most factors limiting trade in developing countries relate to economics, poor infrastructure, restrictions on imports, subsidies to exporters and exchange rates. As a result, improving food security using international standards may not be ideal for developing countries since it can lead to considerable cost and high food prices in these countries. To ensure access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to these families, a better understanding of food insecurity in low and low middle-income economies is critical. This thesis approaches the food security challenge by first taking a holistic overview of the macro-economic and social factors that hinder food security and access to food using some selected countries from low and low middle-income economies. To econometrically assess how international trade affects food security, a modified Seeming Unrelated Regression with Vector Autoregressive Regression (SUR/VAR) model was employed to a panel data consisting of traditional international trade variables. The variables considered include exchange rate, gross domestic product (GDP), input prices such fertilizers, pesticides, population, prices of major imports of key agricultural food commodities- feed grains and fruits mostly consumed by low and low- middle countries. To determine the short and long run effects, the model includes contemporaneous and lagged endogenous and exogenous variables.