The EIU has come up with a new global food security index by considering three factors (corresponding weights in brackets): affordability (40%), availability (44%), and quality and safety (16%). The 1996 World Food Summit defines food security as the state in which people at all times have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs for a healthy and active life.
Out of the 105 countries, Nepal’s overall rank is 79 with a score of 35.2 (low rank and high score are better). The overall index is composed of 25 indicators related to the three main factors. The table shows ranking of South Asian countries with the most favorable conditions for food security. Its no wonder that Nepal’s ranking is the lowest in the region in terms of affordability given that the food prices have been higher than non-food prices (see this blog post, and also this, this and this paper).
The report notes that Nepal’s major strength with regards to food security are
- Nutritional standards
Volatility of agricultural production Agricultural import tariffs Food safety (most run by multilateral agencies and NGOs)
And major weakness are:
- Public expenditure on agricultural R&D
Food consumption as a share of household expenditure Gross domestic product per capita Diet diversification Protein quality
|FOOD SECURITY INDEX|
|62||Sri Lanka||47.4||61||Sri Lanka||45.6|
|AVAILABILITY||QUALITY & SAFETY|
|58||Sri Lanka||49.2||70||Sri Lanka||46.8|
Overall, the top five countries having the most favorable conditions for food security are the US, Denmark, Norway, France and Netherlands.
Affordability is composed of sub-indicators namely food consumption as a share of household expenditure, proportion of population under global poverty line, gross domestic product per capita, agricultural import tariffs, presence of food safety net programs, access to farmer financing. In affordability, the US, Switzerland, Netherlands, Norway and Australia are top ranked countries.
Availability is composed of sub-indicators namely sufficiency of supply (average food supply and dependency on chronic food aid), public expenditure on agricultural R&D, agricultural infrastructure (existence of adequate crop storage facilities, road infrastructure, and port infrastructure), volatility of agricultural production, and political instability. In availability, Denmark, Norway, France, the US and Netherlands are the top ranked countries.
Quality and safety is composed of sub-indicators namely diet diversification, nutritional standards (national dietary guidelines, national nutrition plan or strategy, and nutrition monitoring and surveillance), micronutrient availability (dietary availability of vitamin A, animal iron and vegetal iron), protein quality, and food safety (agency to ensure the safety and health of food, percentage of population with access to portable water, and presence of formal grocery sector). In quality and safety, Israel, France, the US, Portugal and Spain are the top ranked countries.
The figure below shows the overall food security index score with respect to per capita GDP, poverty, agriculture infrastructure, and political stability risk. Nepal’s position is marked by a red dot. The yellow dots are South Asian countries. Needless to say, Nepal’s standing is quite low in all of them (except for poverty).