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20 most food-secure countries in the world

Last updated on: August 10, 2012 08:35 IST

Image: A customer shops in an aisle at Carrefour Planet supermarket in Nice, France.
Photographs: Eric Gaillard/Reuters

While the world, on balance, is richer and better fed than it was 50 years ago, those gains are now under threat.  Global food prices rose twice as fast as inflation in the last decade, impoverishing millions.

So, which countries are the most food-secure? Let's take a look the most food-secure countries in the world.

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

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20 most food-secure countries in the world

Image: The Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge is seen from the 90th storey of One World Trade Center in New York.
Photographs: Lucas Jackson/Reuters

United States

Score/100: 89.5

Global rank: 1

World food prices rose twice as fast as infl ation in the last decade, impoverishing millions at a time when poverty relief captured the world's attention.

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20 most food-secure countries in the world

Image: Boats are seen anchored at the 17th century Nyhavn district, home to many shops and restaurants in Copenhagen.
Photographs: Bob Strong/Reuters

Denmark

Score/100: 88.1

Global rank: 2

Huge price swings for wheat, maize, soybeans and rice - staple crops for much of the world - made matters worse, disrupting markets and harming both producers and consumers.

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20 most food-secure countries in the world

Image: Town of Longyearbyen with the Hiortfjellet mountain in the background is seen in winter light in Svalbard, Norway.
Photographs: Norsk Telegrambyra/Reuters

Norway

Score/100: 88.0

Global rank: 3

The food riots that swept more than two dozen countries in 2008 and 2011 were the most visible effect of these trends, but they also point to a deeper and more lasting concern: chronic food insecurity.

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20 most food-secure countries in the world

Image: View of rooftops and the Montmartre's Sacre Coeur Basilica in Paris.
Photographs: Mal Langsdon/Reuters

France

Score/100: 86.8

Global rank: 4

The world, on balance, is richer and better fed than it was 50 years ago, but those gains are under threat. The global population is growing, and is expected to reach 9bn by 2050.

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20 most food-secure countries in the world

Image: Cyclists visit a Dutch tulip field in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.
Photographs: Mal Langsdon/Reuters

The Netherlands

Score/100: 86.7

Global rank: 5

Consumers in emerging markets are wealthier, and are spending more of their income on meats and processed foods - driving up demand and straining supplies.

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20 most food-secure countries in the world

Image: A view of Vienna International Center and UN headquarters in Vienna.
Photographs: Herwig Prammer/Reuters

Austria

Score/100: 85.6

Global rank: 6

High prices for oil and other agricultural inputs are making production more expensive. Extreme weather increasingly threatens harvests, and agricultural productivity gains are waning as investment falters.

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20 most food-secure countries in the world

Image: People walk on Zurich's main shopping street Bahnhofstrasse.
Photographs: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

Switzerland

Score/100: 83.7

Global rank: 7

Competing demands for crops adds to the pressure. All of this suggests that high prices - and price volatility - will threaten global food security for at least the next decade.

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20 most food-secure countries in the world

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Photographs: Chris Wattie/Reuters

Canada

Score/100: 83.4

Global rank: 8

The World Bank estimates that global food price spikes in 2008 pushed 44 million people below the poverty line, most of them in poor countries.

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20 most food-secure countries in the world

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Photographs: Kacper Pempel/Reuters

Finland

Score/100: 83.1

Global rank: 9

But the US Department of Agriculture says almost 15 per cent of US households were food insecure in 2011, up from 11 per cent before the recent price jumps.

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20 most food-secure countries in the world

Image: Two girls enter a 'Tea House' in downtown Hanover.
Photographs: Fabian Bimmer/Reuters

Germany

Score/100: 83.0

Global rank: 10

Although greater food insecurity is a result, in part, of the global economic downturn, many of the longerterm pressures are not.

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20 most food-secure countries in the world

Image: People buy fruits at a fruit and vegetable market in Wellington, New Zealand.
Photographs: Jacky Naegelen/Reuters

New Zealand

Score/100: 82.7

Global rank: 11

The Food and Agriculture Organisation says that production needs to increase by 50-70 per cent to meet global demand by 2050.

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20 most food-secure countries in the world

Image: Guests enjoy a 'dinner in the sky' on a platform hanging in front of the Royal Palace in Brussels.
Photographs: Sebastien Pirlet/Reuters

Belgium

Score/100: 82.2

Global rank: 12

Sceptics say the world produces enough food to feed everyo#8800 that may be true, but supplies often cannot get to where they need to go because of physical, political, economic and market constraints.

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Tags: , Sceptics , Belgium

20 most food-secure countries in the world

Image: Man buys vegetables at El Masnou's local market near Barcelona.
Photographs: Albert Gea/Reuters

Spain

Score/100: 81.2

Global rank: 13

Food insecurity is costly, and not just because people go to bed hungry; too little food raises healthcare costs and reduces workforce productivity.

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20 most food-secure countries in the world

Image: Rowers train at dawn on the Yarra River in Melbourne.
Photographs: Toby Melville/Reuters

Australia

Score/100: 81.1

Global rank: 14

ActionAid, a non-governmental organisation, estimates that food insecurity costs developing economies around $450 billion in lost GDP each year. Food insecurity also threatens political stability.

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Tags: , GDP , Australia

20 most food-secure countries in the world

Image: A reveler from the Portuguese village of Aveiro playfully chases a tourist during the Iberian Mask parade in Lisbon.
Photographs: Hugo Correia/Reuters

Portugal

Score/100: 80.8

Global rank: 15

Studies show that lack of food is correlated with a substantial deterioration of democratic institutions in low-income countries, as well as a rise in communal violence, riots, human rights abuses and civil conflict.

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20 most food-secure countries in the world

Image: Japan's Mt Fuji, covered with snow, is seen through Shinjuku skyscrapers in Tokyo.
Photographs: Kimimasa Mayama/Reuters

Japan

Score/100: 80.7

Global rank: 16

To deepen the dialogue on food insecurity - and to measure the risks in a consistent, rigorous framework - the Economist Intelligence Unit has created the Global Food Security Index.

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20 most food-secure countries in the world

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Sweden

Score/100: 80.2

Global rank: 17

Sponsored by DuPont, the index assesses food security across three internationally designated dimensions: affordability, availability and utilisation - the last of which we call "quality and safety".

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Tags: , DuPont , Sweden

20 most food-secure countries in the world

Image: People walk on the Monastiraki square as the Acropolis hill is seen in the background in central Athens.
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Greece

Score/100: 79.7

Global rank: 18

The index builds upon existing research on food security, including the FAO's annual State of Food Insecurity in the World report, the Global Hunger Index of the International Food Policy Research Institute, and the Maplecroft Food Security Risk Index, among others.

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20 most food-secure countries in the world

Image: A view of Duomo cathedral in Milan.
Photographs: Stefano Rellandini/Reuters

Italy

Score/100: 79.1

Global rank: 19

GFSI complements these tools by analysing the inputs, or the drivers, of food security as a way of fostering dialogue about practical solutions and policy reforms. Importantly, the index considers the nutritional quality and safety of food - elements missing from similar indices - alongside traditional supply and availability issues.

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20 most food-secure countries in the world

Image: A view of Tower Bridge in London.
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United Kingdom

Score/100: 79.0

Global rank: 20

Finally, the index will feature a unique ongoing adjustment for changes in food prices and other macroeconomic factors, allowing it to serve as an early warning of potential price shocks that might compromise a country's food security, or worsen already poor conditions.