July 10, 2012 / 11:12 AM / 8 years ago

U.S., Denmark top ranking of world's most "food-secure" countries

(Reuters) - People in the United States and other advanced nations consume an average of 1,200 calories per day more than those in low-income countries, but even in these wealthy nations food supplies lack enough micro-nutrients, according to a report issued on Tuesday.

The “Global Food Security Index” found that the United States, Denmark, Norway and France led the world in food security thanks to ample supplies, high incomes, low costs for food relative to other expenditure and significant research and development concentrated on food production.

The least secure nations were largely found in sub-Saharan Africa, including Ethiopia, Rwanda, Nigeria and Mozambique.

The index is aimed at ranking and measuring food security in 105 countries by looking at such things as food affordability, availability, nutritional quality and safety.

DuPont, a developer of genetically altered crops, commissioned the Global Food Security Index as a means of identifying areas where reforms were most urgently needed.

“We’ve always known that what gets measured, gets done,” DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman said in a statement.

The United Nations has said that by 2030, the world will need at least 50 percent more food to feed a growing population.

Africa has long been an area of concern. In May, the Obama administration said the United States and other members of the G8 group of industrialized countries were working with African leaders to increase agricultural investment and enhance productivity.

The food security index commissioned by DuPont was launched by the Economist Intelligence Unit, an advisory and forecasting research firm.

Among its findings: While the average individual needs 2,300 calories per day to live a healthy and active life, in wealthy nations there is enough food for each person to eat 1,100 calories above that benchmark. In low-income countries, national food supplies fall, on average, 100 calories short.

The index - foodsecurityindex.eiu.com/ - also indicated that China experienced the least volatility of agricultural production during the last 20 years.

Kullman said the index should promote collaboration to help feed the growing population.

“To ensure that efforts are laser-focused to deliver real solutions, we needed a tool to inform decision making and facilitate a common language,” she said.

Reporting By Carey Gillam; Editing by Ron Popeski

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