2015 Global Food Security Index Shows Improvement in Access and Quality of Food Globally; Challenges in Europe
On May 19, 2015, Dow joined public and private sector leaders to share examples of rural and urban innovations that address the global food security challenge. During the event at Expo Milan 2015, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) unveiled the results of the Dow-sponsored 2015 Global Food Security Index, which showed continued improvement in global food security – but also challenges in Central and Eastern Europe due to political unrest and rapid urbanization.
Dow Executive Vice President James C. Borel challenged those engaged in the discussion to extend the conversation beyond Expo Milan and leverage the findings of the Global Food Security Index to develop new, targeted solutions to global hunger.
“As the global population increases, becomes more urbanized and the middle class expands, we must properly focus resources to strengthen food systems and their resiliency,” said Borel. “We have to look at the underlying issues – the key drivers that influence a person’s ability to eat. This is the power of the Global Food Security Index.”
2015 Global Food Security Index Findings
The EIU presented the new findings from the 2015 Global Food Security Index to inform the discussion around food and agriculture solutions. The 2015 Index measures 109 countries against 28 food security indicators that monitor the ongoing impact of agriculture investments, collaborations and policies around the world.
While the Index revealed that globally food security increased – with two-thirds of the countries registering year-over-year improvements – the EIU reported that Eastern Europe was the only region to experience food security deterioration in 2014. Political instability in parts of Eastern and Central Europe – and a lower urban absorption capacity across the region – how much a country’s GDP growth rate outpaces its urbanization rate – led to lower scores in 85 percent of European nations included in the Index.
“This year’s findings underscore the importance of continued investment in agriculture research and infrastructure in Europe to ensure all of the region’s people have access to safe and affordable food,” said Borel. “Europe has been a leader in food security and we must ensure that portions of the region are not left behind due to a lack of investment and support for farmers and new agricultural technologies.”
Dow has invested significantly in Eastern Europe – particularly Ukraine and Russia – which has highly productive arable land that has been underutilized for decades. Through its seed business, Dow Pioneer, the company has recently invested more than $50 million in Ukraine to build research and production facilities, and expects to engage with more than 9,500 Ukrainian farmers this year through customer field days and training.
The EIU also unveiled a white paper at the forum on “The Role of Innovation in Meeting Food Security Challenges” that identifies and defines the challenges, key players and technology solutions related to global food security. The paper focused on three key opportunity areas to increase the accessibility of quality food globally – the utilization of biotechnology, support for smallholder farmers, and rise of urban agriculture.