The 2013 Global Food Security Index was released showing Sub-Saharan African nations made progress this past year, with the top three most improved Sub-Saharan countries - Ethiopia, Botswana and Niger - rising an average of eight places in the index. Improvements were attributed to greater food availability and income growth. Of the 10 countries whose scores improved the most, five were in Sub-Saharan Africa, including two of the top three.

As a part of its commitment to food security, DuPont commissioned the development of the Global Food Security Index to address the need for specific metrics to illustrate what food security looks like country by country and globally. Developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the annual Global Food Security Index is a first-of-its-kind ranking tool to comprehensively measure food security and monitor the ongoing impact of agriculture investments, collaborations and policies in 107 countries - 28 of which are in Sub-Saharan Africa.

"As we collectively focus on helping Africa to feed itself, the Global Food Security Index's data and insights provide a roadmap for NGOs, policy makers, academics and community leaders to identify critical food security issues and make better informed decisions that address country-specific needs," said Pamela Chitenhe, DuPont Pioneer director - Africa.

DuPont is using the Index as a discussion tool to drive measurable investment and collaboration in Africa.

  • Using the 2012 Index findings as a guide, DuPont formed a joint-partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Ethiopian Government to help smallholder farmers' access better seeds and increase productivity.
  • South Africa ranked 36th out of 107 countries in food availability category - which includes food supply, agricultural infrastructure and R&D investment indicators. DuPont Pioneer and South Africa-based Pannar Seed (Pty) Limited are partnering to increase the pace and scope of research and innovation, bringing farmers in South Africa and throughout Africa more choices, faster and more efficiently than either company could do on their own.

2013 Africa Key Findings

While the average 2013 Global Food Index Score remained flat (53.5 percent versus 53.6 percent in 2012), some trends emerged from the year-on-year comparisons that shed light on the stagnant figure:

  • No region's score improved dramatically, but Sub-Saharan Africa showed the biggest gain, climbing by under one point. Sub-Saharan African nations made progress this past year, with the top three most improved sub-Saharan countries rising an average of eight places in the index. The three most improved countries - Ethiopia, Botswana, and Niger - improved their ranks largely owing to greater food availability and income growth particularly important drivers.
  • South Africa is the highest rated Sub-Saharan African country with an overall ranking 39 out of 107 countries. Overall strengths include nutritional standards, its relatively lower incidence of the proportion of population under the global poverty line, and its relatively high sufficiency of supply of food. Its challenges include gross domestic product per capita, low public expenditure on agricultural R&D, and minimal food safety net programmes.
  • Urbanization helped to improve food security in emerging markets. Sierra Leone ranked at the top of this year's new urban absorption capacity indicator, which measures the capacity of a country to support the food-needs of its growing cities. Real GDP in the country grew nearly four times faster than urbanization in the last three years, suggesting the country may have the resources to support new urban populations, through developments such as urban farming.
  • Food affordability is a greater challenge than availability or quality throughout most of the African countries featured in the Index.
  • The most food insecure countries ranked are in Africa. The Democratic Republic of the Congo ranks 107 out of 107 countries for affordability and quality and safety in their category score, ranking 103 out of 107 countries for availability.

"We've spent hundreds of hours collecting and analyzing data for the Index so we can better understand what factors help and hinder food security," said Leo Abruzzese, the Economist Intelligence Unit's global forecasting director. "Our goal is to provide a comprehensive, global picture of food security so that stakeholders like DuPont can work with partners in vulnerable areas of the world where food insecurity is a serious concern." For more in-depth analysis of the 2013 Index, watch Abruzzese speak to key trends by clicking here.

The 2013 Index expands on the 25 previously identified food security indicators to determine how two new factors, political corruption and urban absorption capacity, affect access to safe, nutritious and affordable food. With the addition of Singapore and Ireland the GFSI now benchmarks food security in 107 countries, providing a global standard to track yearly progress in food security, which fosters collaboration and real-world solutions to help feed the Earth's 9 billion people.

For more information on the interactive Global Food Security Index, including definitions of the 27 global indicators, food price tracking, multi-country comparisons and more, visit: http://foodsecurityindex.eiu.com/.

To learn more about how DuPont is committed to driving food security efforts locally, sustainably and collaboratively, visit foodsecurity.dupont.com or follow the conversation on Twitter at #foodsecurity.