At DuPont, we’re committed to working with NGOs, governments, academia and others in the industry to provide local solutions to address the greatest challenges facing global food security. One of the primary reasons we commissioned the Economist Intelligence Unit to create the Global Food Security Index in 2012 was our recognition that a tool was needed to unify the exchange of data and ideas around food security into a common language. A key part of continuing to cultivate an informed exchange of ideas is actively listening to the international dialogue on the subject and working to further the conversation.
We recently partnered with the social media analytics firm Crimson Hexagon, to gain a deeper understanding around how people think and talk about food security. With the help of their social media analysts and their analytics platform ForSight™, they evaluated social media posts in eight different languages, irrespective of country of origin – English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Indonesian, Portuguese, Japanese, and Chinese – gaining key insights on the major food security themes, topics, and events in 2013.
Then to deepen our understanding of the cultural differences in the conversation, we worked with their social media analysts and leveraged their opinion analyst algorithm to break down the discussion by four categories – food affordability, food availability, food quality and safety, and all other food conversation.
- English is the only language for which affordability was the most prominent theme of conversation. Topics included food banks/pantries, government programs, school food programs and resource allocation.
- Access to clean drinking water and water treatment plants dominated dialogue among Spanish and French speakers.
- Concern about fake and poisonous food, genetically modified organisms, and water, air, and soil pollution, led Chinese conversations.
- In Arabic, general food security and “end world hunger” posts represented the largest share of conversation.
- Learning from farmers, millennium development goals, climate and sustainable agriculture were significant topics of conversation in Indonesian.
- Portuguese conversation topics focused mainly on family farms and agriculture, and government food programs.
- Japanese conversations primarily centered on concerns about nuclear contamination and soil pollution affecting food safety.
Ultimately, food security is a topic that requires ongoing discussion. While the issue is global, each nation has its own set of food security concerns and priorities.
We must fully leverage the data and tools available to us – like the Index – to identify where the gaps are most significant and make better-informed decisions and policies. Collaborations among the public and private sector will continue to help us prevent hunger and address the barrier and opportunities to global food security. Visit the Global Food Security Index to learn more about the drivers of food security.
Crimson Hexagon is a leading provider of social media analytics software. If you have questions about methodology or findings, please send inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.