12 March 2021
UK ranks sixth in the world for food security
THE Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has released the ninth Global Food Security Index (GFSI), sponsored by Corteva Agriscience.
The GFSI 2020 considers food security in the context of income and economic inequality, gender inequality, and environmental and natural resources inequality. The index calls attention to systemic gaps and how COVID-19 exacerbated their impact on food systems. Based on these findings, global food security has decreased for the second year in a row.
The UK ranked sixth in the 2020 report which researched 113 countries.
“The index reveals the serious challenges around food security and highlights opportunities for a stronger global food system – and agriculture is at the heart of it,” said Jim Collins, Chief Executive Officer of Corteva Agriscience. “Corteva Agriscience sponsors the GFSI to open conversations surrounding insights and solutions to address global food insecurity. We are proud to be one of the leading voices in this orchestrated effort to build a more food-secure world.”
This year, EIU’s GFSI measures the drivers of food security through the underlying factors of affordability, availability, quality and safety, and natural resources and resilience in the region. According to the Europe special report from the EIU, Europe is the second highest-ranking region overall and secured its place as a global leader in food affordability. With the exception of Ukraine, all European countries have robust food safety net programs, which were put under significant pressure by COVID-19 crisis. In 2020, the pandemic also affected the general food supply in the region by reducing input availability due to a shortage of seasonal migrant workers. In the European Union, food supply was also threatened by COVID-19 due to consumer behaviours, such as panic buying of essentials.
According to the EIU report, the index reveals that the volatility of agricultural production in Europe is above the global average. This instability acts as a barrier to predicting and planning for a consistent food supply. Serbia, Slovakia and Norway are among the countries that face highly volatile agricultural production. However, Europe as a region may be able to compensate for this with more infrastructure and technical knowledge to generate efficiencies. With keeping this in mind, embracing innovation remains key and Europe must strongly commit to introducing adaptation measures and innovative agricultural management ideas to balance this volatility and mitigate risks.
“In this time of COVID-19 and climate change, this year’s EIU Global Food Security Index draws attention to the challenges to food security,” said Igor Teslenko, President, Europe at Corteva Agriscience, “We are encouraged by Europe’s global leadership in food affordability, but we also acknowledge the volatility of agriculture production. In order to better crisis-proof our food supply chains and systems, we rely on this data to identify vulnerabilities and ensure a consistent food and resource supply is possible.”
The GFSI also included “Natural Resources and Resilience” as a fourth main category for the first time this year. This marked a significant change in methodology, revealing food systems’ resiliency against climate change. The sub-indicators under this category includes food import dependency, disaster risk management and projected population growth. According to the EIU regional report, the index showed that the European region countries outperforms all other regions in this category even though it is the region’s weakest area in the index. While the region is especially exposed to droughts and flooding, Europe is a global leader in driving policy commitment to climate change adaptation.