Global Food Security Index 2012


Food security is defined 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. Using this definition adapted from the 1996 World Food Summit, the Global Food Security Index considers the core issues of affordability, availability, and quality across a set of 105 countries. The index is a dynamic quantitative and qualitative scoring model, constructed from 25 unique indicators, that measures these drivers of food security across both developing and developed countries. The overall goal of the study is to assess which countries are most and least vulnerable to food insecurity through the categories of Affordability, Availability, and Quality and Safety.


While food security research is the subject of many organizations worldwide, this effort is distinct for a number of reasons. This index is the first to examine food security comprehensively across the three internationally established dimensions. Moreover, the study looks beyond hunger to the underlying factors affecting food insecurity. To increase the ongoing relevance of the study, the index will employ a quarterly adjustment factor for food price fluctuations to examine the risk countries face throughout the course of the year. Lastly, the EIU has created a number of unique qualitative indicators, many of which relate to government policy, to capture drivers of food security which are not currently measured in any international dataset.

The index measures the risks and factors that drive food security, including:

Measures the ability of consumers to purchase food, their vulnerability to price shocks, and the presence of programmes and policies to support consumers when shocks occur.

Food consumption as a share of household expenditure
Measures the average percent of household expenditure that is spent on food.
Proportion of population under global poverty line
Measures the percentage of the population living under $2/day in purchasing power parity.
Gross domestic product per capita
Measures individual income and, hence, the ability to afford food in $US purchasing power parity terms.
Agricultural import tariffs
Measures the average applied most favoured nation (MFN) tariffs on agricultural imports.
Access to financing for farmers
A qualitative indicator that measures the availability of financing to farmers from the government, multilateral, and private sectors.
Presence of food safety net programs
A qualitative indicator that measures public initiatives to protect the poor from food-related shocks. This indicator considers food safety net programs, including in-kind food transfers, conditional cash transfers (ie. food vouchers), and the existence of school feeding programs by the government, NGO, or multilateral sector.


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Measures the sufficiency of the national food supply, the risk of supply disruption, national capacity to disseminate food, and research efforts to expand agricultural output.

Sufficiency of supply
A composite indicator that measures the food availability through the supply of kcal/capita/day and levels of food aid.
Public expenditure on agricultural R&D
Measured as a percentage of agricultural GDP. It is a proxy for agricultural innovation and technology that increases market efficiency and access.
Agricultural infrastructure
Composite indicator that measures the ability to store and transport crops to market. Sub-indicators include: existence of adequate crop storage facilities; extent and quality of road infrastructure; and quality of ports’ infrastructure.
Volatility of agricultural production
Measured as the standard deviation of the annual growth in agricultural production between 1990-2010.
Political instability
A qualitative indicator that measures the presence of general political instability. Political instability has the potential to disrupt access to food through such avenues as transportation blocks or reduced food aid commitments.

Quality and safety

Measures the variety and nutritional quality of average diets, as well as the safety of food.

Diet diversification
Measures the share of non-starchy foods (all but cereals, roots, and tubers) in total dietary energy consumption. A larger share of non-starchy foods signifies a greater diversity of food groups in the diet.
Nutritional standards
A composite indicator that measures nutrition governance. It is comprised of a three binary sub-indicators that include: existence of national dietary guidelines, existence of national nutrition plan or strategy, and existence of regular nutrition monitoring and surveillance.
Micronutrient availability
A composite indicator that measures the availability of iron and vitamin A in the food supply. Sub-indicators include: dietary availability of vitamin A, dietary availability of animal iron, dietary availability of vegetal iron.
Protein quality
This indicator measures the grams of quality protein consumed using the methodology of the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS). This methodology assesses the presence of nine essential amino acids in the average national diet. The inputs of this calculation include: the amino acid profile, protein digestibility value, and the average grams consumed of each food item that contributes a minimum of 2% to protein consumption.
Food safety
A composite indicator that measures the enabling environment for food safety. Sub-indicators include: existence of agency to ensure health/safety of food; access to potable water; presence of formal grocery sector.


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224 million Indians are undernourished
68.7 per cent of the population in India lives below the global poverty line,

India has 224.6 million undernourished people as nearly a fifth of the country’s population does not receive the minimum number of calories required by an average individual, says the newly launched Global Food Security Index (GFSI).

Sixty-eight point seven percent of the population in India lives below the global poverty line,.

GFSI, a scoring tool that measures the drivers of food security in 105 countries, says that the undernourished in India consume, on an average, 240 kcal below the minimum requirement, indicating that food deprivation in the country is slightly less severe than in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Nineteen percent of India’s population does not receive the minimum number of required calories for an average person, thus resulting in 224.6 million undernourished people.

The index, which was launched in the capital earlier this week, said that the food supply in India averages 2,352 kcal per person per day. The Food and Agriculture Organisation’s minimum recommended intake is 1,780 kcal per person per day. It said food consumption as a share of household expenditure averages 49.5 percent in India, versus an average of 52.3 percent in South Asia and just 20 percent in high income countries.

India is ranked 66th in GFSI, scoring moderately across the four categories of affordability, availability, quality and safety.India ranks ahead of Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh in food availability but lack of a diverse diet and low protein quality constrain its score in quality and safety, placing the country third in the region.

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India applies high tariffs on agricultural imports which has an impact on affordability and availability of food.

India has been ranked 76th in terms of food consumption as a share of household expenditure. It has been ranked 83rd in proportion of population under global poverty line, 69th in gross domestic product per capita, 100th in agricultural import tariffs, 31st in presence of food programmes and 30th in access to financing for farmers.

The index said despite vulnerability to food price shocks, India has institutions dedicated to providing food safety net programmes to protect the poor.

It said that government spends just one percent of agricultural GDP on related research, placing India near the bottom of 26 lower middle-income countries.

The GFSI ranks India 76th in average food supply (kcal/person/day), 55th in dependency of chronic food aid and 65th in public expenditure on agricultural research and development.

In agricultural infrastructure, the country was ranked 44th, 27th in volatility of agricultural production and 20th in political stability risk. India’s population receives 38 percent of dietary energy consumption from non-starchy foods owing to high consumption of rice

India’s food quality is constrained by availability of Vitamin A and iron which are below world average, and food supply also contains relatively low quantities of quality protein. “On an average, the greatest source of protein in India is from wheat, rice and pulses. Based on this diet, the average person consumes 37 grams of quality protein…”

The average person in low-income countries consumes 48.7 grams and in a high income country 101.7 grams.

The Index has put India 76th in diet diversification, first in government commitment to nutritional standards, 91st in micronutrient availability, 85th in protein quality and 67th in food safety.

The Global Food Security Index (GFSI) has been developed by Economist Intelligence and is sponsored by Du Pont.

The index provided a framework to assess food security across dimensions such as affordability, availability and safety and quality and aims at deepening the dialogue on issues related to food.


Raja Raja Cholan
About Raja Raja Cholan 659 Articles
Trainer & Mentor for aspirants preparing for civil service examination

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