Nigeria, Madagascar, Sudan and Burundi are among the least food secure countries in the world, a new report has revealed.
Democratic republic of Congo(DRC) also ranks among weakest performers in the Global Food Security Index (GFSI) 2022 released recently.
Based on 11 years of data, the index highlights that the food system has been weakening over the years, with shocks in 2020-22, including the covid-19 pandemic and high commodity prices, showcasing this fragility.
“The 2022 Global Food Security Index (GFSI) shows that the overall food security environment continues to deteriorate for the 113 nations in the index,” reads the report in part.
The early years of the GFSI (2012-15) saw the biggest improvements, with the average overall food security environment score jumping by 6%. However, the GFSI saw slower growth between 2015 and 2019 and then has weakened from 2019 to 2022, plateauing over the past three years as the world faces its highest-ever food prices and hunger
on an unprecedented scale.
These shocks exacerbate the systemic issues that are threatening food security and
weakening the resilience of the food system. The downward trend in food security is a reversal from the GFSI’s early days, which saw eight years of strong growth before a slowdown began.
This subsequent stalled progress reflects structural issues and significant risks in the global food system, which include, but are not limited to, volatility in agricultural production, scarcity of natural resources, increasing economic inequality, and trade and supply-chain volatility.
The economic and socio-political shocks of the past few years have only exacerbated an already-weakening food environment. As these shocks become more frequent and severe, global food security will be increasingly threatened.
Finland is the most food secure country followed by Ireland, Norway and France in that order.
The Global Food Security Index (GFSI) considers food affordability, availability, quality and safety, and sustainability and adaptation across 113 countries. The index is a dynamic quantitative and qualitative benchmarking model constructed from 68 unique indicators that measure the drivers of food security across both developing and developed countries.
Eight of the top ten performers in 2022 come from high-income Europe, led by Finland (with a score of 83.7), Ireland (scoring 81.7) and Norway (scoring 80.5). These nations score strongly on all four pillars of the GFSI. Japan (scoring 79.5) and Canada (scoring 79.1) round out the remainder of the top ten.
The gap between the best performing country and the worst performer is stark—Syria scores less than half the score of Finland. The difference between the top performer and the country at the bottom of the ranking has continued widening since 2019, reflecting the inequity in the global food system.
The report identifies conflict as one of the main drivers of food insecurity, as evidenced in the GFSI, which shows that armed conflict is strongly linked to lower food security scores. Conflict negatively affects almost every aspect of the food system, from production, harvesting, processing and transport to input supply, financing, marketing and consumption.
The report recommends enhancing the resilience of the global food system will require a mix of robustness, recovery, reorientation and reorganization to suit the location and the scale of need.63 Emphasis must go towards buttressing the supply of food and the environment that supports it, ensuring that producers are supported and can adapt to a changing climate through shifts.
“Adapting to a changing climate and promoting agricultural resilience, rather than just reacting to shocks, will ensure that everyone is fed with nutritious food.”