Warsaw, May 24 - Personal income globally rose faster than food prices in the first quarter of 2013, boosting food security and pointing to continued improvements later in the year, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Global Food Security Index sponsored by DuPont. This time, food affordability in Poland scored 80.5 (0.5 more than according the last actualization from March 5, 2013).
– Scoring of Poland in Global Food Security in Index is constantly growing since July 2012, when the first publication of the tool took place – says Piotr Gill, DuPont Managing Director for Poland. We started with 72.3, and today Poland is already scored with 75.2. The increase in scores shows our stable position. What is interesting, Poland in the group of countries with high income occupies 24th place out of 27 surveyed countries with a score of 75.2. That puts Poland at the higher position than Hungary (72.7) and Slovakia (72.5) - he adds.
Poland has been ranked 24th place in the Index, although its overall score increased once again according to recent update of the tool (from 75.0 to 75.2 actually). In the analyzed period, the food affordability in Poland increased by 0.5 to 80.5 and reached 22nd place in the world. Compared to the previous quarter, Poland has maintained the same score of food availability - 65.9 and is occupying 23th place in the world. In food availability Poland is ranked higher than for example Italy (65.4) and Israel (65.0). With 79.3 points, Poland has also achieved a good 26 rank in food quality and safety.
Income per head globally increased by an estimated 1% in the first quarter from the prior three months, according to EIU calculations, while average global food prices rose by only 0.8% in the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) Food Price Index.
Countries with rapid rates of economic growth, such as China, Panama and Chile, generally saw the greatest improvements in food affordability; those with economic or financial crises, including Greece and Venezuela, experienced the biggest declines.
Significantly, the price of foods purchased most often by the food insecure—cereals or staple crops—dropped by 2.4% during the quarter, according to the FAO index, and the EIU’s outlook is for further declines in 2013, which should improve food affordability.
Global corn prices rose during 2012, in part because a drought in the US helped drive global inventories to a six-year low. In 2013 farmers in the US, the world’s biggest producer of corn, will plant the largest crop in 77 years. Production of other cereals, wheat in particular, also is expected to rise this year. Larger supplies will put downward pressure on prices, making staple foods more affordable globally and increasing food security.
The strong supply forecasts for 2013 are dependent on US farmers overcoming weather challenges early in the year. Unexpectedly cold weather has delayed the planting season in some places; should farmers be unable to make up for those delays, prices could rise higher than the EIU forecasts, posing greater risks for global food security later in the year.
- The global economy is slowly gaining momentum, which should boost employment and incomes and support food security - said Leo Abruzzese, Global Forecasting Director for the EIU. - At the same time, we expect the prices of soft commodities to fall. Our latest forecast is for food, feed and beverage prices, overall, to drop by 5.7% this year - he adds.
The quarterly affordability updates of the Global Food Security Index incorporate price changes as measured by the FAO’s widely used Food Price Index. The EIU modifies the FAO price change for each country by examining the historical relationship between global and national food price inflation. The country’s score is further adjusted for the estimated change in national income during the quarter. This provides a top-level assessment of price changes that might help or hurt a country’s food security.
The Global Food Security Index was developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) on DuPont’s request. Index deepens the dialogue on food safety by examining three basic factors such as the affordability, availability, quality and safety. The index includes 105 developed and developing countries and is updated quarterly. Each quarter, the Index is adjusted to reflect the impact of global food price fluctuations on each country’s food security.
Key findings of this quarter’s* adjustment to the GFSI include:
Income growth and historically low exposure to global food price changes drove increases in affordability this quarter for the countries that fared best. China, Panama, Chile and several other countries with the greatest gains in food affordability scores experienced strong per capita income growth and relatively low vulnerability to global food prices. In past quarters, changes in global food prices were the primary driver of fluctuations in affordability scores.
Food affordability globally improved modestly in the first quarter. The global average affordability score at end-March climbed to 52 from 51.7 in December 2012 (where 100 equals the best result). In the US, Switzerland and Norway—the top three countries in the index for the quarter—affordability increased by 0.23 points, on average.
Sri Lanka and Sierra Leone had the greatest improvement in food affordability among undernourished countries. Sri Lanka and Sierra Leone are ranked 60th and 86th, respectively, out of 105 countries in the Index. Reasonably strong economic growth drove the increases in both countries. Income in Sri Lanka grew by an estimated 2% and is expected to climb by around 7.9% overall in 2013. Per capita income in Sierra Leone rose by an estimated 3% last quarter and is forecast to rise by 12.1%% for the full year.
* Data for the first quarter of 2013
The interactive tool which presents the problem of food security and violation of food prices is available online at www.foodsecurityindex.eiu.com.
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