JOHANNESBURG – Despite COVID-19, South Africa has been ranked number one in sub-Saharan Africa and 70th globally (out of the 113) in Global Food Security Index (GFSI) which was released on Tuesday.

South Africa scored  57.8/100 in the 10th annual GFSI, a benchmarking tool supported by leading agricultural companies Corteva Agriscience. Corteva said they examine underlying drivers and causes of food security across both developed and developing countries.

 “South Africa’s agricultural sector has stood out as one of the most resilient contributors to national gross domestic product, with a solid growth of 13.4 percent year-on-year in 2020, and expected further growth of 7.6 percent in 2021,” said Tony Esmeraldo, Corteva Agriscience Southern Africa business director.

According to the report, South Africa showed weaknesses in fluctuations in agricultural productivity, which can create difficulty in predicting and planning for a consistent food supply. 

“The biggest short-term challenges the industry will face, in addition to climate change pressures, are rising input, labor, electricity and fuel costs. There is no doubt that the findings of the GFSI 2021 have given industry players a renewed sense of urgency to build a more food secure South Africa,” said Esmeraldo.

Christo van der Rheede, executive director of Agri SA, a federation of agricultural organizations, said it will inform policy makers about the result. 

“Insights from the GFSI serve as critical indicators of the wellbeing of a country. In the case of South Africa, it is a stern warning of the urgent actions that need to be taken to address household food security, amongst other essential factors,” he said. South Africa is followed by Botswana, Mali, Ghana and Burkina Faso.

Tanzania showed the most improvement since the index’s inception, increasing its score by +13.3 to 48. Burundi is the lowest performer with the score of 34.7.  – Xinhua News.