About 70% of countries in the DuPont/The Economist Intelligence Unit Global Food Security Index study have increased their food security scores in 2014 when compared to the previous year, DuPont said Wednesday.
The latest Index measures 109 countries against 28 food security indicators which monitor the ongoing impact of agriculture investments, collaborations and global policies.
This year, the Index demonstrated that every region improved from the prior year, but the most progress was seen among Sub-Saharan Africa countries, driven primarily by better political stability and economic growth.
New to the Index this year are Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. Both countries earned excellent to moderate scores in all indicators except for weaknesses in public expenditure on agricultural R&D and, for the UAE, volatility of agricultural production.
Even with the overall progress, the Index indicates that several developing nations continue to deal with inadequate infrastructure, political risk and food price inflation.
Developed nations, in contrast, struggle with adapting to urbanization and the growing prevalence of obesity.
Obesity, food loss become background variable
Two new factors – obesity and food loss – were added to the 2014 index to measure impacts on access to safe, nutritious and affordable food.
The addition of the obesity factor reflects its impact across developed and developing countries. In developing countries such as Syria, Mexico and Jordan, nearly one-third of the population is obese, comparable to rates in the United States.
"While obesity was once studied independently of food security, today many scholars and policymakers are considering the relationships between the two," said Leo Abruzzese, director of The Economist Intelligence Unit Global Forecasting.
Abruzzese says the addition will provide insights for individuals, policymakers, private sector leaders and others who are trying to understand how progress can be made on both fronts.
The other new indicator, food loss, examines post-harvest and pre-consumer food loss that occurs in various stages of production, processing, transport and storage along the supply chain – such as when edible food products are left in the field or in silos, degraded through improper packaging or consumed by pests.
The Index revealed that while high-income countries generally have the best scores in this category, a number of former Soviet republic countries scored as well as many developed nations.
Sub-Saharan countries had the worst scores for this indicator -- among the 10 lowest-performing countries, supply-chain food losses ranged from a high of 9.5% in Malawi to a crushing 18.9% in Ghana.
View the full interactive Global Food Security Index online.