Asia Pacific Region Records the Region’s Best Performance in Food Affordability
New Delhi: The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) released the ninth Global Food Security Index (GFSI), sponsored by Corteva Agriscience earlier this month. The GFSI considers food security in the context of income and economic inequality, gender inequality, and environmental and natural resources inequality. This year’s report specifically calls attention to systemic gaps and how COVID-19 exacerbated their impact on food systems. Based on these findings, global food security has decreased for the second year in a row.
“The GFSI report gives leaders worldwide the insights they need to help ensure healthy, available and affordable food for all,” said Jim Collins, the Chief Executive Officer at Corteva Agriscience. “It clearly demonstrates the need to strengthen agriculture in the face of new challenges, like more extreme weather and declining natural resources. At Corteva Agriscience, we are proud to do our part in innovating for more resilient crops and helping build stronger farms, therefore a more secure food system.”
This year, EIU’s GFSI measures the drivers of food security through the underlying factors of affordability, availability, quality and safety, and natural resources and resilience in the region.
The report showed that the region recorded its best performance in the food affordability category. Ten out of the 23 countries in the region did not require any kind of food assistance in the last five years. While there have been encouraging improvements overall, extreme weather conditions such as typhoons and COVID-19 have presented new challenges to the region. Though overall, food and resource mobilization were achieved in Asia Pacific, decreasing the pressure of the pandemic across the region.
The GFSI also included “Natural Resources and Resilience” as a fourth main category for the first time this year. This marked a significant change in methodology, revealing country’s food systems’ resiliency against climate change. The sub-indicators under this category include food import dependency, disaster risk management and projected population growth.
According to the EIU special report, high-income countries’ strengths in the region are undermined by the increase in climate change risks. Most countries are at high risk of experiencing severe storms, rising sea levels and water shortages. The region is susceptible to climate change, but the index reveals that fewer than one-third of the countries made commitments to develop resilient agriculture.
In Asia Pacific, two areas for improvement stand out: public expenditure on agricultural infrastructure and mitigation of climate risks. Increased investment in these areas would benefit countries’ food security in the long run.
“As we emerge from the pandemic, it is clear that improving food production can help address the widening inequality highlighted by the index,” said Peter Ford, President, Asia Pacific, Corteva Agriscience. “In Asia Pacific, where countries are diverse, we are proud to be bringing tailored innovations and solutions to farmers that are both climate-positive and sustainable.”
Corteva has been working to provide innovative agricultural solutions that can be implemented in the region, such as developing stable crops that are more resistant to extreme weather and can thrive in limited water. The company’s resource-efficient, direct-seeded hybrid rice system in India is one example of how it is helping drive a more responsible food system. Corteva also collaborates with governments and foreign aid organizations to increase technological adoption In India Corteva is partnering with governments and NGOs to help farming communities mechanize corn crop production, providing training to farmers on new agricultural methods that increase plant population, and crop productivity.