SA ranked 40 in food security index

2012-07-24 13:38

South Africa has ranked 40th out of 105 countries in a Global Food Security Index which has the US in the top spot and the Democratic Republic of Congo at the bottom.

South Africa also ranked 13th in a division of 28 countries by income streaming.

Chile topped that list, with Algeria in last place.

It categorised South Africa as an “upper-middle income” country.

The index, conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit, found that countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia were the most vulnerable to high food prices.

“Of the 28 sub-Saharan countries covered in the index, food consumption accounts for 50% or more of household spending in 20 of them,” the unit found in its report, which was released earlier in July.

By comparison, in Switzerland, New Zealand and the US, seven to 14% of spending was on food.

The index found high food prices could also be a problem in advanced countries, and that spending tended to be on processed foods and meats.

A separate study mentioned in the report this year found that one in seven elderly people in the US was food insecure – amounting to about 8.3 million people.

The recent economic downturn had placed greater strain on US households which were previously not at risk.

Low food prices could also cause food insecurity, especially in low income, agrarian economies.

Low prices depressed smallholder farmers’ incomes, disrupted their ability to produce food, and were a disincentive to produce.

According to the index, economic activity in rural areas could be tied in some way to farming, and low incomes for farmers meant low incomes for all.

Sudden price changes and price shocks could force poor consumers and suppliers to sell important assets at low prices to maintain short term food security.

In the longer term, this kept families in poverty.

According to the statistics by the UN cited in the index, global food production must rise by 50% by 2030 to meet demand.

According to Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) findings referred to in the index, the average adult needs 2300 calories a day to lead a healthy and active life.

In the US, the national food supply was equivalent to 3748 calories per person per day.

Sub-Saharan Africa was the only region where the average food supply was below the daily adult requirement, the FAO found.

The index also measures the volatility of agricultural production. Researchers said China experienced the least volatility during the last 20 years, with Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia among the greatest.

In China, volatility is lessened by its geographic size, and grain production is subsidised through a government minimum purchasing price that is higher than market rates.

Researchers noted that poor nutrition is a concern for wealthy and poor countries.

A malnourished child, for example, was more likely to drop out of school.

In the report’s executive summary, the researchers comment that studies show a lack of food “is correlated with a substantial deterioration of democratic institutions in low-income countries, as well as a rise in communal violence, riots, human rights abuses and civil conflict”.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/Sport

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.