HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Based on affordability, availability, and quality and safety — the three global parameters — Nepal ranked 79 out of 105 countries, scoring 35.2, in the Global Food Security Index 2012.
According to the Global Food Security Index published by the Economist Intelligence Unit, the country has 17 per cent undernourishment that is strongly associated with a low food security ranking.
"Among four categories — best performance, good performance, moderate and needs improvement — country falls under the fourth category that needs improvement," it said. It mentioned that Nepal faces food consumption as a share of household expenditure, public expenditure on agricultural research and development, and gross domestic product per capita, diet diversification and protein quality as challenges, whereas nutritional standards, volatility of agricultural production, agricultural import tariffs and food safety are some of the strengths.
Under affordability, the index looks into food consumption as a share of household expenditure, proportion of population under global poverty line, gross domestic product per capita, agricultural import tariffs, presence of food safety net programmes and access to farmer financing.
Under availability, the index looks into sufficiency of supply, public expenditure on agricultural research and development, agricultural infrastructure, volatility of agricultural production and political instability.
Similarly, the index under the third parameter quality and safety, looks into diet diversification, nutritional standards, micronutrient availability, and protein quality and food safety.
Among the three key issues, the country ranks 91 for affordability, 71 for availability and 74 for quality and safety, according to the report that has ranked the US the highest in terms of food security, followed by Denmark, Norway and France, while Burundi, Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo rank the lowest. Brazil, China, and India fell in the middle of the pack ranking at 31, 38, and 66, respectively.
Nepal’s ranking is the lowest in the South Asian region in terms of affordability given that food prices have been higher than non-food prices.
However, landlocked countries fared nearly as well as those with a coastline. "The 22 landlocked countries in the index on average scored only seven points lower than those that are not landlocked. This suggests that although small countries without seaports may be particularly vulnerable to food shocks, being landlocked in itself does not translate into a significantly greater degree of food insecurity," the report stated.
The Economist Intelligence Unit calculates the Global Food Security Index by considering affordability (40 per cent), availability (44 per cent), and quality and safety (16 per cent).
The 1996 World Food Summit defines food security as the
state in which people at all times have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient and nutritious food that meets
their dietary needs for a healthy and active life.