The question of global food security is significant, but a new report from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) sponsored by DuPont offers improving grades on an important report card. The 2014 Global Food Security Index shows that 70 percent of countries in the study saw food security scores rise over the previous year.
This index, which measures 28 different food security indicators, looks at the issue for 109 countries. Craig F. Binetti, president, DuPont Nutrition and Health, comments: "The index provides a common set of metrics that enable us to track progress in food security globally, and the outcomes thus far are promising. But we know it will take continued collaboration, innovation and investment in agriculture, food and nutrition to overcome the vast challenges to feeding the world's growing population."
With the prospect of feeding 9 billion people by 2050, food security is a global issue. Food prices are a key factor impacting security, with many in the developing world already spend half to three-quarters of their income on food. Rising worries over water availability and access to arable land, add to the food security challenge.
The index showed that every region improved from the prior year, but most progress was seen in Sub-Saharan Africa, driven primarily by improved political stability and economic growth, despite the food-insecure-environment. The index slid for Central and South America and Asia Pacific as diet diversification fell and there was a decline in public spending on agricultural research.
In developing countries, the index shows the key challenges include inadequate infrastructure, political risk and food price inflation. For developed countries, the challenges include adapting to urbanization and the continued rise of obesity.
Adding obesity as a background variable in the index shows its impact across both the developed and developing countries. In developing countries including Syria, Mexico and Jordan, nearly one-third of the population is obese, those numbers are comparable with the United States.
Leo Abruzzese, director, EIU Global Forecasting, says: "While obesity was once studied independently of food security, today many scholars and policymakers are considering the relationships between the two. This will provide insights for individuals, policymakers, private sector leaders and others who are trying to understand how progress can be made on both fronts."
There's also a new indicator for food loss that will look at post-harvest loss and pre-consumer food loss. This is a growing challenge facing producers as they try to move crops and livestock from field to market.
You can check out the 28 global indicators, impact of changing food prices and multi-country comparisons and more, visit foodsecurityindex.eiu.com.