Sierra Leone scored 28.7% and was ranked 94/105 on the Global Food Security Index launched by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The Global Food Security Index addresses the underlying factors of food insecurity in 105 countries and points to areas for improvement and reforms.
“As we talked to governments, NGOs and farmer organizations around the world, we’ve come to realize that while we share a common goal of food security, we do not share a common language. To truly address the root cause of hunger, we must have a common path forward to tackle such pressing issues as food affordability, availability, nutritional quality and safety,” said Ellen Kullman CEO of Dupont.
Billions are being invested globally to address food security, but the world still lacks a comprehensive global way to measure food security and the impact of investments and collaborations at the local level.
Local efforts have increased over the years to improve food security in Sierra Leone. Government budgetary allocation to agriculture increased from 1.6% in 2007 to 7.7% in 2009 and now stands at close to 10% in 2010 and 45% of GDP or Le134 billion in 2011.
A Presidential Task Force on Agriculture (PTFAg) providing policy guidance and supervision over the sector has been set. It includes the Vice President, Ministers, Sierra Leone’s development partners, civil society, NGOs, farmers, and the private sector.
The Government is also running a five year USD 403m Smallholder Commercialization Program (SCP). Agricultural Business Centres (ABCs) are emerging all over the country and governments intends to transform this centres into “limited liability companies”. .
A step was taken towards “mechanization” of the sector with introduction of a US$15.0m Agricultural Machinery and Equipment Hire Purchase Scheme. The sector also continues to receive support from Sierra Leone’s traditional development partners IMF, World Bank, the AfDB and friendly governments.
The report however shows that much needs to be done to put food insecurity under control. In the area of food affordability Sierra Leone scored 22 category and 94 category rank across both developing and developed countries. Sierra Leone scored 33.7% in Food consumption as a share of household expenditure, 0% in Presence of food safety net program and 25% in Access to financing for farmers.
In the area of food availability, Sierra Leone was ranked 95 in the category and scored 32.2 category score. It scored 32% in Sufficiency of food supply, 25.5% in Average food supply, 50% in Dependency on chronic food aid and 10.2% in Agricultural infrastructure.
In the area of Food Quality and Safety, Sierra Leone scored 35.5 category score and was ranked 88th in the category. It scored 36.8% in diet diversification, 65.4% in nutritional standards, 29.1% in micronutrient availability, 19.8% Protein quality, food safety 41.4% and 21.5% in access to portable water.
According to the index, the US, Denmark, Norway and France are the most food-secure countries in the world.
A combination of ample food supplies, high incomes, low spending on food relative to other outlays, and significant investment in agricultural research and development (R&D) put these countries at the top of the 105-nation index.
The food supply in advanced countries also averages 1,200 calories more per person, per day, than in low-income economies.
The average individual needs 2,300 calories per day to live a healthy and active life. Among wealthy nations, there is enough food for each person to eat 1,100 calories above that benchmark; in low-income countries, national food supplies fall, on average, 100 calories short of it.
Several of the sub-Saharan African countries that finished in the bottom third of the index, including Mozambique, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Nigeria, will be among the world’s faster growing economies during the next two years the index revealed.
The most food secure nations score less well for micronutrient availability. Of the top ten countries in the index overall, only France ranks in the top ten for micronutrient availability. The low ranks are primarily owing to limited availability of vegetal iron in national food supplies, as measured in the FAO Food Balance Sheets.
Also 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. Guinea was ranked 86th, Ghana 68th, Nigeria 80th. DR Congo occupied the bottom position of 105th.