The food supplies of Afghanistan and nine African states are those most at risk and vulnerable to rising costs, based on results of the Food Security Risk Index 2010, released last week by Maplecroft.
The Index uses 12 criteria developed in collaboration with the World Food Programme to evaluate risks to the supply of basic food staples for 163 countries. These criteria include: the nutritional and health status of populations, cereal production and imports, GDP per capita, natural disasters, conflict, and the effectiveness of government.
Following these calculations, Maplecroft rated Afghanistan as least secure in food supplies, while also ranking the African nations of the Democratic Republic of Congo (2), Burundi (3), Eritrea (4), Sudan (5), Ethiopia (6), Angola (7), Liberia (8), Chad (9) and Zimbabwe (10) as "extreme risk." In all, African nations make up 36 of the 50 nations most at risk in the index.
High rates of poverty, failing infrastructure, ongoing violence and extreme weather events all contribute to the food insecurity in Sub-Saharan Africa. The anticipated spike in global wheat prices following an export ban in Russia will only complicate matters further in this extremely vulnerable region.
"Food security is a critical geopolitical issue and an important factor for investors concerned with sovereign risk, food and agricultural business with respect to supply chain integrity and foreign direct investments," says Professor Alyson Warhurst, CEO of Maplecroft. "The world will now look to China (96) as one of the biggest storage countries; however, food consumption there is on the increase and surpluses are not quantified. Traders report 200m tones are held in reserve globally an improvement on 2008; but, this is no comfort for countries such as Haiti and Pakistan, which are heavily dependent on food aid."
According to Maplecroft's analysis, Finland (163) is the country considered least at risk, while the other Scandinavian countries Sweden (162), Denmark (161) and Norway (160) follow closely behind. Other low risk countries include Canada, (159), USA (158), Germany (156), UK (146) and France (142).
More information about the Food Security Risk Index 2010 is available at www.maplecroft.com.