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Thursday, May 21, 2015

2/3 countries improve on food security - EIU

World leader in global business intelligence, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) in its Global Food Security Index (GFSI) annual update,Expo Milan 2015, revealed that two-thirds of 109 countries have improved in food security, reportsNaijaAgroNet.

The GFSI overall results, NaijaAgroNet gathered was unveiled at the DuPoint Forum on Food and Agriculture tagged; Rural and Urban Innovations, showed that sustained economic expansion in most regions and rapid growth in developing countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, combined with lower global food prices provided the necessary food security improvement in almost every region of the world over the past year.

It further revealed that food security in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)improved in 28 countries in the region, with 82 percent recorded score increases between 2014 and 2015, and the region as a whole saw a score improvement of 1.5 points.

Also it pointed out that Sub-Saharan Africa saw impressive gains in food Quality & Safety, with Burkina Faso and Mali leading the way, driven by improved access to quality protein, a measure of the average consumption of essential amino acids in a country’s diet. Burkina Faso also made significant strides in the diet diversification indicator, with a 25% increase (87% score increase) in the amount of non-starchy foods consumed in the average diet.

Dr Richard Okine,Regional Director for DuPont Sub-Saharan Africa, speaking on the report said that,“Developing countries often lack basic infrastructure, including storage, road and port facilities, while smaller incomes inhibit access to and affordability of nutritious food. Political risk and corruption frequently compound structural difficulties in these countries. Investment in infrastructure and food systems in low-income and lower-middle income countries is the key to narrowing the gap.”

He also stressed that an overwhelmingly positive factor has been the fact that over the past few years, the overall economic growth in the developing world has led to improvements in the structural areas that are essential to improving people’s access to a wider range of affordable, nutritious foods.

“This, according to Dr. Okine, includes more extensive food safety-net programmes, expanded crop storage capacity and dietary diversity.”

With such progress notwithstanding, global food insecurity remains a challenge. According to UN estimates,NaijaAgroNet learnt that the world population is projected to increase by 1 billion over the next 12 years and reach 9.6 billion by 2050, with growth coming mainly from developing countries, with more than half in Africa. As populations’ boom and incomes rise in developing countries, the FAO also estimates that food production will have to grow by 50% to meet demand.

The GFSI is an annual measure of food security across 109 countries, produced by the EIU and sponsored by DuPont.

Daniel Nsolibe/GEE

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