South Africa Improves Global Food Security Index Score

Global Food Security Index 2016 Data

South Africa Improves Global Food Security Index Score Despite Ongoing Drought and Rising Food Prices

Ranks 1st overall in sub-Saharan Africa; Ranks 47th globally

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, July 27, 2016 – South Africa has achieved a higher score in the 2016 Global Food Security Index (GFSI), climbing 0.6 points from its 2015 position to 62.9/100. Its global ranking, however, fell from 46th to 47th out of 113 countries. Food security remains a top priority for South Africa amidst ongoing drought and rising food prices, and agricultural strategies that incorporate climate-mitigating input technologies will be key to securing access to food for the country.

The GFSI – sponsored by DuPont and produced by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the research and analysis division of The Economist Group – is an annual measure of a country’s food security. By examining the dynamics of food systems around the world, the Index looks at 28 specific indicators across three broad categories:

  • Affordability, a consumer’s ability to purchase food; 
  • Availability, factors that influence the supply of, and access to food; and 
  • Quality & Safety, which explores the nutritional quality of average diets and the food safety environment in each country.

South Africa received strong scores in five indicators, achieving the maximum of 100 points for the country’s nutritional standards (which includes national nutrition plans, dietary guidelines and nutritional monitoring) and the presence of food ‘safety net’ programmes (public initiatives that protect the poor from food-related shocks).

The sufficiency of the country’s food supply, agricultural infrastructure and the national average percentage of household expenditure on food, received moderate scores (25-75). Gross domestic product per capita (a measure of individual income calculated in US dollars at Purchasing Power Parity, and an indicator related to the affordability of food) achieved the lowest score (8.8).

When compared to other countries, South Africa’s food supply, the percentage of the population living under the global poverty line, and access to financing for farmers fared below average.

“The United Nations has estimated that the world’s population will grow by another 1.2 billion in just 14 years’ time. Solving the challenge of food security is not something that can be done single-handedly,” said Prabdeep Bajwa, regional director for DuPont Pioneer in Africa. “Collaboration between farmers, communities, food processors, local and national governments, NGOs, multinational businesses, and other collaborators along the food value chain – right down to the consumer – is essential to effectively and sustainably feeding an ever-growing global population.”

When prioritising opportunities for improvement based on performance, diet diversification, high quality protein, and increasing investment in agricultural research and development (R&D) within South Africa, were also highlighted by the Index.

Commenting on the opportunity for agricultural R&D, Bajwa noted that, “By 2017, DuPont will invest over R70 million in two Africa Technology Hub research facilities in Delmas (Mpumalanga) and Hoogekraal (North West). The network of research facilities and testing locations will advance DuPont’s ongoing efforts to accelerate seed product development for African farmers, helping them better manage pests and crop disease, climate volatility and soil fertility.”

Among sub-Saharan African countries, South Africa ranks first followed by Botswana (57.8), Ghana (47.8), Uganda (44.2), and Kenya (42.7). South Africa’s overall score is 10th highest among upper-middle-income countries, with Malaysia (69.0) Costa Rica (68.3), Mexico (68.1), Brazil (67.6) and China (65.5) claiming the first five positions.

On a global level, the Index revealed that food security has improved over the past five years, mainly due to rising incomes across countries, general improvement in the global economy and falling food prices. The United States (86.6), Ireland (84.3) and Singapore (83.9) scored the highest among the 113 countries assessed.

To access the full GFSI report, visit

South Africa Indicator Score

Areas of improvement compared to average scores:

South Africa Ranking || Sub-Saharan Africa: