Thursday, June 13, 2024

Food Security ÔÇô Botswana best among the worst of the lot

Despite being landlocked, Botswana households have one of the best accesses to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food in Africa, second only to South Africa, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit Food Security Index 2012.

The index reveals that Botswana is doing better than any country in the world to ensure the food security of its citizens. It emerged that several policy indicators ÔÇöaccess to financing for farmers, the presence of food safety net programmes, protein quality and diet diversificationÔÇöare highly correlated with overall food security, suggesting that government action in these areas could substantially improve food security over time.

The rankings of landlocked countries compared with coastline economies suggest that being landlocked in itself may not lead to greater food insecurity, despite the challenges such countries face in getting goods in and out of ports. South Korea and Japan have diets that are richest in micronutrients, and Botswana spends more on agricultural Research and Development as a share of agricultural output than almost any other country in the index.

Botswana, however, is the best among the worst. According to the index, sub-Sahara Africa is the most food insecure region in the world. It ranked South Africa 40th out of 105 countries. The next African country was Botswana, at 47th. Other neighbours fared far worse. The study found that world food prices had risen twice as fast as inflation in the last decade. While the world was richer and better fed than 50 years ago, these gains were under threat. The Global Food Security Index looks beyond hunger to examine the underlying factors and key risks affecting food security in a structured, rigorous framework.

The index is a dynamic benchmarking model that uses quantitative and qualitative indicators to provide a standard against which countries can be measured and reveal individual country strengths and weaknesses.

The index reveals, however, that people in the most food-secure nations do not have diets that are particularly rich in micronutrients. Wealthy nations do especially poorly in iron content from vegetables relative to their less well off counterparts.

Sub-Saharan African countries are the most food insecure. Burundi, Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) take the bottom three spots. Each of these countries has done little to enable food security; they do not even have enough food available to meet the daily caloric needs of everyone in the country.


Read this week's paper