Sustainability in Food

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2013 Global Food Security Index Reveals Sub-Saharan African Countries Showed Big Gains

Released early in July 2013, the Global Food Security Index, shows Sub-Saharan African nations made progress this past year. The top three most improved Sub-Saharan countries — Ethiopia, Botswana and Niger — rose an average of eight places in the Index. Improvements were attributed to greater food availability and income growth. Of the 10 countries whose scores improved the most, five were in Sub-Saharan Africa, including two of the top three.

As a part of its commitment to food security, DuPont commissioned the development of the Global Food Security Index to address the need for specific metrics to illustrate what food security looks like country by country and globally. Developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the annual Global Food Security Index is a first-of-its-kind ranking tool to comprehensively measure food security and monitor the ongoing impact of agriculture investments, collaborations and policies in 107 countries – 28 of which are in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“As we collectively focus on helping Africa to feed itself, the Global Food Security Index’s data and insights provide a roadmap for NGOs, policy makers, academics and community leaders to identify critical food security issues and make better informed decisions that address country-specific needs,” said Pamela Chitenhe, DuPont Pioneer director – Africa.


While the average 2013 Global Food Index Score remained flat (53.5 percent versus 53.6 percent in 2012), some trends emerged from the year-on-year comparisons that shed light on the stagnant figure:

  • No region’s score improved dramatically, but Sub-Saharan Africa showed the biggest gain, climbing by under one point. Sub-Saharan African nations made progress this past year, with the top three most improved sub-Saharan countries rising an average of eight places in the index. The three most improved countries — Ethiopia, Botswana, and Niger — improved their ranks largely owing to greater food availability and income growth particularly important drivers.
  • South Africa is the highest rated Sub-Saharan African country with an overall ranking 39 out of 107 countries. Overall strengths include nutritional standards, its relatively lower incidence of the proportion of population under the global poverty line, and its relatively high sufficiency of supply of food. Its challenges include gross domestic product per capita, low public expenditure on agricultural R&D, and minimal food safety net programmes.
  • Urbanization helped to improve food security in emerging markets. Sierra Leone ranked at the top of this year’s new urban absorption capacity indicator, which measures the capacity of a country to support the food-needs of its growing cities. Real GDP in the country grew nearly four times faster than urbanization in the last three years, suggesting the country may have the resources to support new urban populations, through developments such as urban farming.
  • Food affordability is a greater challenge than availability or quality throughout most of the African countries featured in the Index
  • The most food insecure countries ranked are in Africa. The Democratic Republic of the Congo ranks 107 out of 107 countries for affordability and quality and safety in their category score, ranking 103 out of 107 countries for availability.

DuPont to Advance Agricultural Research and Technological Innovation in Africa

We are partnering to bring innovation to the African seed industry and improved product choices to farmers.

DuPont Pioneer has acquired majority ownership in Pannar, a South Africa-based seed company with operations throughout Africa and in other parts of the world.

With 86 million acres (35 million hectares) available for maize production, Africa represents a significant opportunity for improved productivity. Average grain yields are less than 2 tons per hectare, about one-third of what is achieved in other developing regions and only one-fifth of yields in developed countries.

Some benefits of the partnership include a new technology hub in South Africa, a unified research strategy, better knowledge-exchange with local farmers, and improved productivity.

Read more about the acquisition.

EIU Global Food Security Index Spotlight on Chile

Just published yesterday, the 2013 Global Food Security Index developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and exclusively sponsored by DuPont, highlighted nutrition in its key findings: More than 3 million children under the age of 5 die from malnutrition each year. In Latin America, these issues are especially acute since only 53 percent of countries in the region have official policies regarding nutrition in place in primary schools.

“Access to safe, nutritious and affordable food is critical to health and overall development,” said DuPont Pioneer President Paul E. Schickler while speaking alongside NGO and government partners at a nutrition and agriculture roundtable event in Santiago, Chile. Thanks to decades of strong economic management and political stability, Chile leads Latin America in terms of food availability and affordability and ranks second only to Argentina for its food quality and safety.

“While it’s important to acknowledge progress, we need to scrutinize the findings further to identify country-specific areas of concern and collaborate with partners to implement tailored, local solutions here in Chile (where diet diversification and obesity remain issues) and hundreds of countries around the world to ensure that nutrition is addressed holistically.”

Rountable participants discussed an EIU white paper written specifically for the event, Nutrition in Chile: Global Challenges, Local Solutions, which takes a closer look at the issue of obesity in Chile.

Additional EIU Key Findings from the Index

While the average 2013 Global Food Index score remained flat (53.5 percent versus 53.6 percent in 2012), some trends emerged from the year-on-year comparisons that shed light on the stagnant figure:

  • Developing Nations Make Progress as Industrialized Countries Face Setbacks: Sub-Saharan African nations including Ethiopia, Senegal and Botswana made significant progress this past year, rising an average of nine places in the Index, with improvements attributed to rising incomes, greater access to farmer financing along with heightened emphasis on quality food and nutrition. The growth in developing nations contrasts a fall in developed European economies, in particular Greece, as it regressed as fallout of financial collapse and lower gross domestic product.
  • Broader Food Security Metrics: Rather than measure food security in black and white terms, the 2013 Index tracks 27 diverse factors that may explicitly or implicitly affect access to safe, nutritious and affordable food. New this year, the Index points to political conflicts in Mali, Yemen and Syria as significant contributors to food insecurity in the regions. With regard to urbanization, emerging markets appear best positioned to respond to the long-term trend and implications for food security: Sierra Leone was the top-ranked country in this new indicator, primarily as a result of its strong urban farming, which has been crucial in supporting the country’s nutritional needs.

To learn more about the findings visit the EIU Index website.

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