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Afghanistan's Food Supply Is Least Secure in 163-Nation Ranking

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12:05 19.08.2010
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Afghanistan has the world’s least- secure food supplies because poverty and conflict hamper distribution in the Asian nation, the U.K. risk assessment company Maplecroft said today.

The nation where 142,000 U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization troops are battling the Taliban topped a list of 163 nations published today in Maplecroft’s Food Security Risk Index. The next 11 countries are all in Africa.

“The ongoing conflict in Afghanistan impacts infrastructure readiness, and the capability for distribution of supplies is greatly reduced,” Fiona Place, environmental analyst at Bath, England-based Maplecroft, said in a phone interview. “It’s the impact on the road networks and the telecommunications infrastructure.”

The poorest nations and those with conflicts are those with the greatest difficulties in ensuring their population has access to sufficient food, Maplecroft said. Future supplies are “very uncertain” due to extreme weather that has hit major cereal producers including Russia, Canada and Ukraine, Maplecroft Chief Executive Officer Alyson Warhurst said.

Russia’s worst drought in half a century prompted the country on Aug. 5 to ban grain exports, sending wheat prices to a 23-month high. Production in Canada has been hit by flooding, while extreme temperatures in Ukraine and Kazakhstan have also lowered cereal output, according to Maplecroft.

The analyst produced its ranking using data from 12 indicators, including cereal production, food aid, economic output per capita and inflation.

‘Extreme’ Risk

The Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Eritrea, Sudan, Ethiopia, Angola, Liberia, Chad and Zimbabwe complete the top-10 list of nations with the least secure food supply. All were deemed to have an “extreme” food risk.

The north European nations of Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway rank as the countries with the most secure food supply. Canada has the fifth most-secure supply, and the U.S. came sixth. Those nations had a “low” risk. Some European nations, including Italy, Greece and Portugal, had a medium risk.

Those nations “don’t produce enough of their own food supply, so they’re dependent on importing,” Warhurst said. “Basically they’re going to have to pay more for their imports.”

Source: Bloomberg.com