DuPont, a developer of genetically altered crops, commissioned the Global Food Security Index as a means of identifying areas where reforms were most urgently needed and ranked Ghana 68th out of 105 other countries.
In a release issued by DuPont the food security index was launched by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), an advisory and forecasting research firm, today.
DuPont Chair and CEO Ellen Kullman said common food security metrics are key to increasing global food security.
“We’ve always known that what gets measured, gets done,” said Kullman. In an effort to increase global food security, DuPont commissioned the Global Food Security Index that was launched today by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
The “Global Food Security Index” found that the United States, Denmark, Norway and France led the world in food security thanks to ample supplies, high incomes, low costs for food relative to other expenditure and significant research and development concentrated on food production.
The least secure nations were largely found in sub-Saharan Africa, including Ethiopia, Rwanda, Nigeria and Mozambique.
The index is aimed at ranking and measuring food security in 105 countries by looking at such things as food affordability, availability, nutritional quality and safety.
Ghana was rated 68th out of 105 countries, and 3d in Sub Saharan Africa after South Africa (40th) and Botswana (47th). The overall score for Ghana was 43.1 out of a possible score of 100.
In terms of affordability Ghana achieved a score of 37.1 on criteria such as Food consumption as a share of household expenditure (31%), Proportion of population under global poverty line (44%), Gross domestic product per capita (4.5%), Agricultural import tariffs (75%), Presence of food safety net programs (50%) and Access to financing for farmers (50%).
In the category of availability Ghana received a score of 49.4% based on criteria such as: Sufficiency of supply (56.5%), Average food supply (58.8%), Dependency on chronic food aid (50%), Public expenditure on agricultural R&D (12.5%), Agricultural infrastructure (51.9%), Existence of adequate crop storage facilities (100%), Road infrastructure (50%), Port infrastructure (25%), Volatility of agricultural production (56.7%) and Political stability risk (50%).
On quality and safety Ghana scored 40.5% as determined by the following criteria: Diet diversification (24.6%), Nutritional standards (34.6%), National dietary guidelines (100%), National nutrition plan or strategy (0%), Nutrition monitoring and surveillance (0%), Micronutrient availability (51.5%), Dietary availability of vitamin A (100%), Dietary availability of animal iron (15.3%), Dietary availability of vegetal iron (39.3%), Protein quality (20.5%), Food safety (75.6%), Agency to ensure the safety and health of food (100%) and Percentage of population with access to potable water (72.3%).
The fact that Ghana rated 3d in Sub-Saharan Africa may be seen by the government as a great achievement, but as far as the people of Ghana is concerned a Food Security Index score of only 43.1% should be a grave concern.
The true fact is that too many Ghanaians (51.8%) are still under the the global poverty line and that affordability of food is a major concern in Ghana. The depreciation of the Ghanaian cedi in recent times that has increased this problem and the effects of that is probably not reflected in the index.
In the United States, for example, food consumption as a share of household expenditure is only 13.9% while it is on average 51% in Ghana.
Food Security Ghana (FSG) will be monitoring comments on the DuPont “Food Security Index” and we are sure that, even though it is a positive contribution towards helping in the fight against poverty reduction, certain shortcomings will surely be highlighted.
One such aspect is the access to finance to farmers where where Ghana scored 50%. However, if the cost of that finance is brought into the equation the score for Ghana will surely go down by quite a few points.
Another aspect that stands out is the issue of public expenditure of agricultural research and development, a key factor to create sustainable food security, where Ghana only achieved a 12.5% score.
“The Global Food Security Index measures levels of food security by answering a central question: how can consumers in each country easily access sufficient amounts of safe, high-quality and affordable food?” said Leo Abruzzese, Economist Intelligence Unit Global Forecasting Director. “Because of our extensive modeling approach, we believe this comprehensive tool will help leaders move from rhetoric to results.”
Ranking 3d in Sub-Saharan Africa is indeed not an achievement if the state of food security in Ghana is well below 50%. It is now time for Ghanaian leaders to also move from rhetoric to results.