South Africa high on food safety, quality index
Pretoria - The ninth edition of the 2020 Global Food Security Index has ranked South Africa as the number one country, out of all sub-Saharan countries, when it came to the quality and safety of the food produced.
The index was designed and constructed by the Economist Intelligence Unit to consider the issues of food affordability, availability, quality and safety, and natural resources and resilience across 113 developing and developed countries.
The latest edition incorporates the “Natural Resources and Resilience” category for the first time, officially, into the main index – taking into consideration a country’s exposure to the impact of climate change, its susceptibility to natural resource risks and how the country was adapting to these risks.
These include exposure to climate shocks, water and land quality issues, population pressures and the government’s commitment to addressing the impacts of climate change on agriculture.
For the 2020 Index, the Intelligence Unit team reviewed and included inequality-adjusted income, gender inequality and armed conflict as new sub-indicators based on research and recommendations.
Overall, South Africa came in at 69 out of 113 countries, with strengths not only in food safety, but also with the availability of micronutrients in the food produced, change in the average food costs, agricultural tariffs and minimal food loss.
This was, however, a far cry from the country’s previous performance, as in 2019 it ranked 48th most food-secure country out of 113 countries measured, a few inches up from the previous year.
The country scored 72.4% for food quality and safety, 63.1% for affordability, availability stood at 49.5%, and the lowest score was 49% for natural resources and resilience.
Despite the drop, the country was said to have shown significant progress in nutritional strengths and food safety net programmes.
Two challenges, however, were identified for stakeholders to look out for mainly. These were the volatility of the agricultural production, as well as food security and access policy commitments. The index called for policymakers to acknowledge the impact of climate-related factors on food security and take immediate action.