A new index reveals the extent of food insecurity worldwide plus the factors exacerbating the problem

The world’s most severe food crises are being intensified by man-made factors and extreme weather events, a newly released food security risk index finds.

Countries in the Horn of Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa are the most vulnerable to food insecurity, according to the index.

Maplecroft’s Food Security Risk Index (FSRI) assessed the stability and availability of food supplies in 196 countries. Measured are the availability, access and stability of food supplies across all countries as well as the nutritional and health status of populations.

The study indicates that Somalia, rated with the lowest food security in the index, has been ravaged by inflationary pressures on the cost of staple cereals. This combined with the country’s ongoing political turmoil has resulted in the disruption of trade and the destruction of transportation networks.

Thirty percent of the population within southern Somalia are currently suffering from acute malnutrition. In all of drought-stricken Eastern Africa, which has seen crop failures and livestock death due to the worst drought in 60 years, an estimated 17.5m people currently require food assistance.

While mostly the world’s underdeveloped nations such as DR Congo (ranked #1 with Somalia), Haiti (ranked #7) and Zimbabwe (ranked #14) are topping the list, also emerging economic power India was categorised as ‘high risk’ on rank #51.

While India’s food production is sufficient for domestic consumption the nation’s food security situation is worsened by political violence and endemic corruption. Despite the country’s substantial economic growth over the past decade, approximately 25% of the world’s hungry poor live in India due to its severe income inequalities.

“As global demand for food grows due to rising populations, food security will take on increasing importance for governments and it needs to be on the risk agenda of multinational corporations,” commented Maplecroft CEO Alyson Warhurst.