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NEWS UPDATES 20 August  2010

Philippines on food insecurity list

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The Philippines was among the countries given a “high” rating in food insecurity, according to a survey of 163 economies published in Paris.

Afghanistan and nine African countries top the world rankings for food insecurity, while North America and Western Europe, especially Scandinavia, have the surest food supplies, according to the survey.

The Food Security Risk Index 2010 was compiled by a British risk analysis firm, Maplecroft, on the basis of 12 factors drawn up in collaboration with the United Nation’s World Food Programme.

The criteria included cereal production, gross domestic product per capita, risk of extreme weather events, quality of agricultural and distribution infrastructure, conflict and effectiveness of government.

Ten countries were rated as being at “extreme” risk, starting with Afghanistan, and followed by Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Burundi, Eritrea, Sudan, Ethiopia, Angola, Liberia, Chad and Zimbabwe.

Among countries that were rated “high” were Bangladesh (23rd overall), Pakistan (30), India (31) and the Philippines (52), while countries deemed at “medium” risk included China, which was placed 96th overall.

The most favorably placed countries were the developed economies of North America and Western Europe, with Finland the most food-secure, followed by Sweden, Denmark and Norway.

Of the 50 nations most at risk, 36 were from sub-Saharan Africa.

Maplecroft attributed climate change to the leap in wheat prices this year and warned of harsh consequences for vulnerable nations.

“The recent extreme weather events in Pakistan and Russia are expected to result in a further increase in risk to their own food security next year,” it said.

In the Philippines, farmers were challenged by the El Niño phenomenon during the first semester of the year and a La Niña episode is expected to present some complications to the agriculture sector.

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