Afghanistan tops 'food risk index'
Afghanistan is at greater risk of suffering disruption to its food supplies than any other country, new research has found.
Poverty, poor infrastructure and the ongoing war between Nato forces and insurgents mean the central Asian nation is ranked top in the "food security risk index" compiled by global analysts Maplecroft.
Countries in sub-Saharan Africa make up the rest of the top 10, with Zimbabwe - known as the "breadbasket" of the continent before Robert Mugabe's economic mismanagement - in 10th place.
The survey of 163 countries rated Scandinavian nations at lowest risk, with Finland bottom of the list, followed by Sweden, Denmark and Norway.
The UK was ranked 146th for risks to its food security, better than France (142nd) but worse than Germany (156th), the US (158th) and Canada (159th).
Afghanistan was judged to be at highest risk despite the billions of pounds of aid pumped into development projects since the 2001 US-led invasion that overthrew the Taliban.
Maplecroft said the food security situation there remained precarious because of the continuing violence, failing road and telecommunications networks and the country's vulnerability to droughts and flooding.
The index is based on 12 factors, including nutrition and health levels, cereal production and imports, GDP per head, natural disasters, conflict and the effectiveness of governments.
It was drawn up before the recent heatwave in Russia (ranked 115th) and floods in Pakistan (30th), but Maplecroft noted that climate change was having a "profound" effect on global food security.
Professor Alyson Warhurst, chief executive of Maplecroft, said: "Food security is a critical geopolitical issue and an important factor for investors concerned with sovereign risk, food and agricultural business with respect to supply chain integrity and foreign direct investments."