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Ireland takes top spot in global food security standings

Ireland has regained its position as the best-performing country in terms of the latest world food security calculations released by Economist Impact and sponsored by Corteva Agriscience.

The country also took top honours in the 2017 ranking and claimed second place after Finland in last year’s index.

According to the 2021 Global Food Security Index (GFSI), Ireland has been able to keep food costs down while tackling inequality and ensuring that a safety net remains in place.

“It has seen a big jump in agricultural R&D and has been able to minimise food loss, helping to ensure that enough quality food is available. The government also has high nutritional standards and is politically committed to adaptation,” claims the GFSI.

The index, which has been running for ten years, aims to serve as a resource to enable a more resilient and secure food system.

The GFSI measures the underlying drivers of food security in 113 countries and is based on four pillars being:

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  • Affordability;
  • Availability;
  • Quality and safety;
  • Natural resources and resilience.

It considers 58 unique food security indicators, including income and economic inequality, gender inequality, and environmental and natural resources inequality – calling attention to systemic gaps and actions needed to accelerate progress towards United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #2 – Zero Hunger by 2030.

A model for food security

The countries that are models for food security are those that score highly on all four pillars.

Top-performer Ireland scored:

  • Affordability – 92.9 points (second place);
  • Quality and safety of food – 94 (third place);
  • Availability – 75.1 (eighth place);
  • Natural resources and resilience – 74.1 (third place).

Overall, Ireland scored 84 points against second-place Austria’s 81.3.

Some of the top indicators the index lists as strengths in Ireland are:

  • Change in average food costs;
  • Food safety net programmes;
  • Sufficiency of supply;
  • Nutritional standards;
  • Micronutrient availability;
  • Protein quality;
  • The proportion of population under the global poverty line;
  • Food safety.

The report’s 2021 findings show that after seven years of progress towards SDG #2, global food security has decreased for the second year in a row.

Driving factors 

It stated the compounding effect of the following factors are driving scores in the index and the accelerated decrease in food security:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Intensifying climate-related factors;
  • Nutrition;
  • Price volatility of food;
  • Lack of government agricultural investment.
Remain vulnerable to shocks

Pratima Singh, head of the Global Food Security Index at Economist Impact, added:

“The index shows that, while countries have made significant strides toward addressing food insecurity in the past ten years, food systems remain vulnerable to economic, climatic, and geopolitical shocks.”

“Action is imperative at all levels — local, national, and global — to end hunger and malnourishment and ensure food security for all.”

According to Economist Impact, the index shows that the drivers are broad and now represent a systemic, multinational challenge with impacts spanning both low- and high-income and resourced nations.

Article: Dirk De Vynck 

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