DuPont, the research and analysis division of The Economist Group, reported that the MENA region made significant improvements in food security between 2014 and 2015, increasing 2.4 points in its overall score due to gains in affordability.
The increase comes as a result of lower household spending on food combined with higher GDP per capita in 83% of countries.
The region also marked developments in availability and quality & safety because of lower levels of food loss and increased access to high-quality protein, gaining more than 12 points in food loss score, 16.7 points in nutritional standards, and 4.9 points in GDP.
The UAE has been the key driver for the MENA region’s improvement as the country rose 53.0 points from 2012 to 2015 to reach a current score of 75.6, while its GDP increased 7.5 points, the third highest in the region, ensuring higher levels of food security for its population.
The UAE is also one of the five MENA countries to witness a positive change in its score in nutritional standards.
DuPont United Arab Emirates general manager Amin Khayyal said: “Government efforts and elaborate food safety programmes have resulted in rapid progress in global food security over the past years which have also contributed to the increased efficiency of food systems and improvements in the nutritional quality of food.
“The MENA region, in particular, experienced the largest regional increase, with its score rising by 2.4 points, ahead of Central and South America and Asia and the Pacific.”
The report also stated that the falling grain, sugar and dairy prices, sustained economic expansion in most regions and rapid growth in emerging markets and developing countries, have narrowed the gap between the most food-secure and the least food-secure countries.
GFSI-EIU project director Lucy Hurst added: “According to the 2015 Global Food Security Index, middle-income countries are undergoing transformational changes while upper-middle-income countries have made huge strides in ensuring that food safety-net programmes are comprehensive.
“The gains made by the MENA region in the overall score reflect positive strides in Affordability, Availability, and Quality & Safety indices. The increase in individual scores of the countries in this region will contribute in overcoming the challenge of global food security.”
On a global level, the results reveal that food security improved in two-thirds of the 109 countries covered, with the average score rising 1.2 points.