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Sat 30 May 2015 09:37 AM

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UAE seen leading 'significant' rise in MidEast food security

2015 Global Food Security Index shows big improvement in region as affordability and quality and safety scores rise

UAE seen leading 'significant' rise in MidEast food security
GCC food, Middle East consumers, GCC consumers

The UAE has driven a significant improvement in food security in the Middle East and North African region in the past year, according to a new global index.

The 2015 Global Food Security Index, published by science firm DuPont and the Economist Intelligence Unit, showed that the MENA region made improvements in food security between 2014 and 2015, increasing 2.4 points in its overall score due to gains in affordability.

The improvement seen in MENA was double the global average of 1.2 points.

This can be attributed to a combination of lower household spending on food and higher GDP per capita in 83 percent of countries, the report said.

The region also marked developments in quality and 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 report said that the UAE has been the key driver for the MENA region's outstanding improvement in the 2015 Global Food Security Index.

The country rose 53 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.

Globally, the UAE was ranked 23, with Kuwait 24, and Saudi Arabia 30, with the United States, Singapore and Ireland named as the top three countries for food security.

Amin Khayyal, general manager, DuPont United Arab Emirates, 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.

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, the report said.

The GFSI is an annual measure of food security across 109 countries. The index looks at 19 specific measures of food security across three broad categories - Affordability, Availability, and Quality & Safety.