Ireland ranked first in Global Food Security Index, whilst Canada overtakes US
Ireland takes top spot in the 2021 GFSI, while the US has been surpassed by its northern neighbour, as scores across the globe decrease due to the pandemic and climate concerns.
The Economist’s Global Food Security Index (GFSI) has been published, with some interesting results. The index has Ireland as the number one country for food security, with it ranking well across the four criteria of affordability, availability, quality and safety, and natural resources and resilience.
Austria and the United Kingdom made up the rest of the top three, with Finland, Switzerland, and The Netherlands all also performing well in the rankings. Perhaps most interestingly of all was the revelation that Canada had overtaken its southern neighbour to clinch seventh spot in the rankings. The United States had seen improvement on its average score in 2019 and 2020, before a downturn in the past 12 months. The US now shares ninth place with France, with Japan (eighth place) completing the top ten.
Gains in food safety had been observed across the world over the past decade, with scores peaking in 2019. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and the difficulties that came with it have seen food safety scores drop off in the past two editions of the GFSI.
There are also clear geographical trends to be drawn from the GFSI. The top ten is almost exclusively made up of wealthy European nations (just three nations in the top ten lie outside of Europe), while the bottom ten is dominated by Sub-Saharan nations (only Haiti, Yemen, and Syria are exceptions to this rule).
The GFSI shows that hunger (using undernourishment as a measure) and stunting in children are most tied to the quality and safety of food. Populations with diets that lack quality protein and micronutrients, and where access to drinking water is limited, score worse in food security.
The countries that are models for food security are those that score highly on all four pillars of food security. For example, top-scorer Ireland scores above 92 points for Affordability, and Quality and Safety of food, and above 74 points for the Availability and resilience pillars.
The cost of food has once again been crucial to the final position of countries in the rankings, with those able to keep the cost of food down more likely to fare better. Ireland, for example, has been able to keep the price of essentials low, as have improving countries such as Tanzania, Oman, and China. On the flip side, some ofr the worst-performing countries in recent times have been those unable to keep a lid on rising food costs – such as Venezuela and Burundi.