EIU: Food Security Improves in Most Countries

But the 2016 Global Food Security Index shows low-income countries remain vulnerable to global risks


Today, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has released an updated Global Food Security Index (GFSI), which is the feature of a congressional briefing in Washington, DC. Now in its fifth year, the GFSI has become a policy check for governments and a country diagnostic tool for investment. Non-governmental organizations and multilaterals have turned to the GFSI as a research tool to identify key countries in which to focus advocacy efforts for food-security challenges.

EIU_GFSI_2016 COVER_webKey findings from the updated Index

  • More than 85 percent of countries in The Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) latest Global Food Security Index (GFSI) improved their scores in the past year.
  • Overall economic growth, falling food prices and rising incomes drove food security gains in most countries.
  • Poor countries lag behind, as lower incomes and lack of basic infrastructure inhibit access to and affordability of nutritious foods.
  • Risks from climate change, population growth and potential spikes in food prices pose threats to the most food insecure populations, as poor countries are the least able to deal with these factors.
  • Public investment in agricultural research & development globally is inadequate to address future climate change-related risks.
  • Political instability exacerbates food insecurity. Countries that are experiencing armed conflict, government instability and civil unrest have experienced the largest deteriorations in food security since 2015. Influxes of refugees from war-torn Syria could strain food safety nets in Europe and other regions.


Global economic growth has led to structural developments that are essential to improving access to affordable, nutritious foods, including more extensive food safety-net programs and better food transport infrastructure. But most of the food-security improvements in the last five years, according to the latest EIU Index, have been in middle-income countries. Low-income countries continue to lag behind.

The GFSI, sponsored by DuPont, is an annual benchmarking index that provides a common framework for understanding the root causes of food insecurity by examining the dynamics of food systems around the world. Through this framework, the GFSI has created a unique country-level food-security measurement tool that addresses the issues of affordability, availability and utilization in 113 countries.

Low-income countries often lack basic infrastructure, and smaller incomes inhibit access to and affordability of nutritious food. Political risk and corruption frequently compound structural difficulties in these countries. These issues are exacerbated by the risk of future climate change. Changing weather patterns, drought, increased rainfall and flooding will have a significant impact in the long term, potentially pushing up food prices and increasing production volatility.

In the light of current and future food-security challenges in low-income countries, the GFSI stresses that advancements in these countries must be a priority. How can low-income, developing countries progress despite the obstacles they face? Governments will need to invest in the development and implementation of new technologies to make countries more resilient to changing weather patterns and narrow the gap between low-income and middle-income countries. Private investment must also be increased.

To explore the GFSI in detail online, visit http://foodsecurityindex.eiu.com.


This entry was posted on Agriculture, Food Safety, Food Security, Nutrition & Health, Sustainability, Economist Intelligence Unit, Global Food Security Index, DuPont Crop Protection, DuPont Nutrition and Health, DuPont Pioneer, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and the Middle East, North America, South America,

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