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Oman second most food secure nation in Arabia

24 Feb 2021

Oman is ranked second in the Arab world and 34th globally in the Global Food Security Index (GFSI), developed by The Economist Intelligence Unit, released on February 23. 

With an overall score of 70.2, Oman is second to Kuwait which is ranked 33rd globally. Qatar is ranked 37th, Saudi Arabia 38th, UAE 42nd and Bahrain 49th. 

GFSI considers four broad categories – Food Affordability, Availability, Quality and Safety, and Natural Resources and Resilience – across 113 countries to rank them. In addition, the index is a quantitative and qualitative benchmarking model constructed from 59 unique indicators that measure the drivers of food security across both developing and developed countries.

Oman has done remarkably well in the categories of Affordability (rank 12th, category score 88.5), Availability (rank 55th, category score 59.1), Quality and Safety (rank 31st, category score 83.7) and Natural Resources and Resilience (rank 84th, category score 43.8). 

The sultanate has been highlighted for its ‘strengths’, which the index defines as any indicator score above 75 from a total of 100. 

Oman’s strengths that have been listed include Proportion of population under global poverty line (score 100), Food safety net programmes (100), Nutritional standards (100), Market access and agricultural financial services (95.9), Food safety (89.1), Protein quality (88.5), Change in average food costs (87.5), Micronutrient availability (87.1) and Food loss (86.3). 

This current edition of GFSI incorporates the ‘Natural Resources and Resilience’ category into the main index. This category assesses a country’s exposure to the impacts of changing climate, its susceptibility to natural resource risks, and how the country is adapting to these risks, all of which impact food security. 

The category was first introduced in GFSI in 2017 as an adjustment factor and, given its increasing importance, has been mainstreamed for the first time this year.

“Incorporating the Natural Resources and Resilience category as part of the main index highlights the impact of climate-related factors on food systems and food security,” said Pratima Singh, project lead for GFSI at The Economist Intelligence Unit. “It is critical that climate risk becomes a core part of the dialogue on food security. We hope this will drive much-needed action on developing policies that can build a stronger and more sustainable global food system.”

For the third consecutive year, the North America region leads the world in food security. Europe is a close second, accounting for eight of the top ten countries. Using the new methodology, Finland tops the list while last year’s leader, Singapore, drops down to 19th place. Ireland retains its second rank position, followed by Netherlands, Austria, Czech Republic, United Kingdom, Sweden, Israel, Japan and Switzerland in the top ten, while the United States is at 11th place.

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