Thursday, August 19, 2010

African nations dominate Maplecroft's new Food Security Risk Index - China and Russia will face challenges

ReliefWeb via Maplecroft: Commodity price hikes due to climate events will hit the neediest countries. With global wheat prices expected to spike following an export ban in Russia due to fires destroying millions of hectares of crops, a new study measuring global food security has identified the food supplies of Afghanistan and nine Africa states as the countries which are most at risk and vulnerable to rising costs.

The Food Security Risk Index 2010, released by risk analysis and rating firm Maplecroft, evaluates the risks to the supply of basic food staples for 163 countries. It uses 12 criteria developed in collaboration with the World Food Programme, to calculate the ranking including: the nutritional and health status of populations, cereal production and imports, GDP per capita, natural disasters, conflict, and the effectiveness of government.

Afghanistan (1) is rated as least secure in food supplies, whilst the African nations of the Democratic Republic of Congo (2), Burundi (3), Eritrea (4), Sudan (5), Ethiopia (6), Angola (7), Liberia (8), Chad (9) and Zimbabwe (10) are also considered "extreme risk." In all, African nations make up 36 of the 50 nations most at risk in the index.

Sub-Saharan Africa is particularly vulnerable to food insecurity because of the frequency of extreme weather events, high rates of poverty and failing infrastructures, including road and telecommunications networks, which decrease both production and distribution capacity. Conflict is also a major driver of food insecurity and the ongoing violence in Afghanistan and DR Congo is largely responsible for the precarious food security situation in both countries.

"Russian brakes on exports, plus a reduction in Canada's harvest by almost a quarter due to flooding in June, are provoking fluctuations in the commodity markets. This will further affect the food security of the most vulnerable countries" said Fiona Place, Environmental Analyst at Maplecroft….

Wheat fields near Bredasdorp, Overberg district, South Africa in 2005, shot by Winfried Bruenken (Amrum), Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license

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