A new index released recently by the Economist Intelligence Unit, that was commissioned by DuPont, has uncovered some interesting findings on food security.
Amongst them is the news that there is a strong correlation between women’s economic opportunities and access to affordable, safe food. The Global Food Security Index shows a hefty 0.93 correlation with the EIU’s Women’s Economic Opportunity Index, which measures female economic participation.
The reports says, “The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates that if women had access to the same productive resources as men—better seeds, fertilisers and fungicides—they could increase their yield by 20% to 30%. As women make up 43% of the world’s farmers, this would increase total agricultural output in developing countries by 2.5% to 4%, and reduce hunger globally by 12% to 17%, according to the FAO.”
The correlation between food security and EIU’s Democracy Index was only 0.77 – a much weaker link than with women’s labour equality. This suggests that what happens to our food has less to do with politics and more to do with the social sphere.
The index ranks 105 different countries with a model that looks at 25 individual indicators with regards to affordability, availability and quality and safety.
Other findings of interest are that landlocked nations show only a modest increase in food insecurity, on average seven points lower on a scale to 100.
China was the country that had the least volatility of farm output over the last 20 years, but this is explained by generous subsidies that create a floor for food commodity prices. North African countries such as Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco showed the most variance.
The good news is that several of the countries at the very bottom of the index, notably Mozambique, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Nigeria, are also ones with strong economic growth, suggesting that their food situation may improve as living standards rise and as sound policies are hopefully put in place.