Yesterday Oxfam released its new Global Food Index that shows the best and worst places to eat. Across all indicators Chad came in dead last in the index. The indicators to rank the countries include having enough food to eat, food affordability, diabetes and overweight citizens, and food quality. In fact, along with Chad, eighteen of the last twenty countries in the index are sub-Saharan African countries save for Yemen and Lao’s People Democratic Republic. Conversely, the top country in the index is the Netherlands followed by fellow European countries France and Switzerland. The top ranking sub-Saharan country is South Africa, to be expected, followed closely by Botswana.
Parsing the data by indicator the best country for food quality is Iceland and the worst is Madagascar. The best country for food affordability is the Netherlands and Guinea is the worst. South Africa is the best sub-Saharan country based on the food affordability indicator. I am happy to see this data as this is the experience I have had while spending time in South Africa. Food is quite affordable there.
“Having sufficient healthy and affordable food is not something that much of the world enjoys,” said Raymond C. Offenheiser, President of Oxfam America. “Across the globe, particularly in developing countries, far too many people are consuming more and more unhealthy food. Paradoxically, more than 800 million people cannot get enough nutritious food to eat. Governments and the food industry are failing to ensure that everyone is able to eat healthfully, despite there being more than enough food to go around.”
According to FAO’s The State of Food Insecurity in the World (2103 edition) 1 in 8 people around the world experience chronic hunger. Undernourishment decreased by 17% since 1990-1992. However, 12% of the world’s population was not able to meet all of its daily dietary needs and most of those people live in Southern Asia (295 million) followed by sub-Saharan Africa (223 million).
Based on data from the UN, Millennium Development Goal 1 that states hunger should be halved by 2015 is in reach. FAO believes MDG 1 can be met, but many countries will not reach the target reduction in hunger. Countries that have experienced conflict within the last twenty days and landlocked countries with unfavorable trade laws have the least chance of improving hunger rates.
How much would it cost to feed all hungry children the world over? The World Food Program estimates that $3.2 billion would be needed annually to feed all hungry children. Of course, that doesn’t take into account all of the adults, particularly women who are expecting, who do not have enough food to eat.