Slowly, but markedly, food security has improved. The number of people experiencing chronic hunger dropped from 868 million to 842 million over the past year. An almost 3% decline.
Since 1990 the number of undernourished individuals fell by 17%.
This shows the Global Food Security Index 2014 (GFSI 2014), developed by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and sponsored by Dupont, that compares the state of food security in 109 developed and developing countries across 28 indicators.
Across the globe, improvement is evident. Predominantly in developing countries, which generally started with more food-insecure environments.
Low- and lower-middle-income countries led the way. Sub-Saharan Africa recorded the largest gains despite facing the weakest food security environment.
Although developed, Western countries continued to have the highest levels of food security and Sub-Saharan African countries remained at the bottom of the rankings, the gap between the highest and lowest performers narrowed.
Benin at the top
Food security increased for 70% of the countries. Among the 15 best performing countries, 8 lie in Sub Saharan Africa, with Benin at the top.
Notwithstanding the progress, the GFSI2014 warns that global food insecurity remains a challenge. Food price inflation and political stability appear to be negatively impacting food security in many regions. And while economic growth has helped the situation in parts of the globe, including Africa, structural limitations, such as inadequate infrastructure, have limited the gains.
Stable political environments and minimal corruption, reduce the likelihood of food loss
Proper regulations, including effective, import and export systems, stable political environments and minimal corruption, reduce the likelihood of food loss, the report, sponsored by Dupont, concludes.
But also: Improved farming methods, including increased mechanisation and the use of fertilisers and improved seeds, result in increased efficiency during the early stages of the supply chain and minimise losses.
‘We know it will take continued collaboration, innovation and investment in agriculture, food and nutrition to overcome the vast challenges to feeding the world’s growing population’, said Craig F. Binetti, president of DuPont Nutrition & Health.
Expensive food imports
Mr Louis Meintjes, president of the South African Farmers Organisation TAU SA, points out that food security is undermined by expensive food imports , which is obviously has a huge negative impact especially on lower income groups. This is what he calls the major warning from the report.
‘Local production is the maintenance and expansion of commercial agriculture. Commercial agriculture produces food for urbanized consumers who do not have the ability to produce for themselves.’
Agricultural units get bigger due to the demand of the economy of scale, as is also experienced in a factory or the manufacturing sector, Meintjes notices. ‘The increase in food security as pointed out by EIU, is precisely in line with this trend. Therefore it is imperative that new entrants to agriculture must be supported to be able to become also commercial farmers as soon as possible,’ expressed Mr. Meintjes.