Food Haves and Have Nots: The Countries Facing the Best and Worst Scenarios in Food Security

I guess we're not helping out so much in Afghanistan, as the country is ranked the least food secure nation in the world.

New analysis shows Afghanistan as well as several sub-Saharan African nations as having the greatest food security risk in the world, classified as 'extreme risk' (red in the image above). Furthermore, 36 of the 50 most at-risk nations in the world are found in Africa.

Afghanistan is the world's least food secure nation, followed by Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Eritrea, Sudan, Ethiopia, Angola, Liberia, Chad, and Zimbabwe.

That determination was made by consulting firm Maplecroft in their Food Security Index 2010 based on 12 criteria developed in cooperation with the World Food Programme: Nutritional and health status of populations, grain production and imports, GDP per capita, natural disasters, conflict, and effectiveness of government, and more.

Based on those criteria, even someone with only a passing knowledge of international affairs can glean why the most at-risk nations occupy those slots.

Maplecroft elaborates:

Sub-Saharan Africa is particularly vulnerable to food insecurity because of the frequency of extreme weather events, high rates of poverty and failing infrastructures, including road and telecommunications networks, which decrease both production and distribution capacity. Conflict is also a major driver of food insecurity and the ongoing violence in Afghanistan and DR Congo is largely responsible for the precarious food security situation in both countries.

Climate Change Already Increasing Food Security Risk
The report notes that climate change is already having a "profound effect" on global food security.

Though Russia is ranked 115 out of 163 nations surveyed and classified as a medium-risk country, the recent heatwave's impact on grain production and the nation's ban on grain exports, combined with a 25% decrease in Canadian grain production in June, due to flooding, is causing fluctuations in commodity prices, in turn increasing food insecurity in the most vulnerable nations.

Scandinavian Nations Ranked as Most Secure
At the other end of the scale, Finland is ranked as having the highest food security, followed by Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. Canada is ranked 159th, the United States is 158th, Germany 156th, the UK 146th, and France 142nd.

Matthew McDermott writes about alternative energy for TreeHugger.
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