Bangladesh - Food Security

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Bangladesh least food secure in South Asia

Global food security under threat: EIU

FE Report

In spite of harvesting bumper rice crop for the past several years Bangladesh is yet to attain food security, according to a global think-tank.

The London-based Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) in its Global Food Security Index 2012 ranked Bangladesh as the least food secure country among the six South Asian countries.

The index has been worked out by assessing affordability of the people to buy food along with availability and quality of food in 105 countries around the globe.

According to the index, Sri Lanka has the most food security in the region securing the 62nd position in the overall ranking with a score of 47.4 points on a scale of 100.

The index placed Bangladesh at the 81st position with 34.6 points while India was ranked 66th with 45 points and Pakistan 75th with 38.5 points.

Myanmar with a score of 37.2 points is in 78th place followed by Nepal at 79th.

Most people lack affordability to buy food in all these countries despite a better production of cereals. Less affordability of people to buy food increases food insecurity.

According to the report, the wealthy nations, with little surprise, perform best in the index, the US, Denmark and France hold the top three spots, followed closely by a number of northern European and Australasian countries

High incomes, low spending on food relative to other outlays, and significant investment in agricultural research and development (R&D) put these countries at the top of the rankings.

A total of 27 countries led by the US, are the high income countries with USD 12,276 per capita and above.

Japan scored as many as 80.7 to become the 16th nation in terms of ensured food security while China became 38th scoring 62.5 jointly with Romania.

African countries were ranked as the most food insecure, with Burundi, Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) taking the three positions at the bottom. They do not even have enough food available to meet the daily caloric needs of everyone in the country.

According to the index, China was the country to experience the least volatility in agricultural production during the last 20 years, while three North African countries -- Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria -- faced the most.

The report said high food prices are an important cause of food insecurity. However, low prices and wide swings in prices may be the most damaging of all. Each, in its own way, disrupts markets and price signals, making consumption and production less secure.

In South Asia, food costs exceed 45 per cent of household spending in four of the five countries covered.

"The world, on balance, is richer and better fed than it was 50 years ago, but those gains are under threat. The global population is growing, and is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050," the EIU report said.

Extreme weather conditions are increasingly threatening harvests, and agricultural productivity gains are waning as investment falters and competing demands for crops add to the pressure, it noted.

Global food prices rose three times as fast as inflation in the last decade, improving millions at a time when poverty relief captured the world's attention. Huge price swings for wheat, maize, soybeans and rice staples crops for much of the world, made matters worse, disrupting markets and harming both producers and consumers, the report says.

"Higher prices of commodities and price volatility will threaten the world food security for at least the next decade," the report added.

Food insecurity also threatens political stability. Studies show that lack of food is correlated with a substantial deterioration of democratic institutions in low-income countries, as well as a rise in communal violence, riots, human rights abuses and civil conflict, the report added....
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