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Press Release 98/70

FAO: LARGE GAP IN FOOD AVAILABILITY BETWEEN RICH AND POOR COUNTRIES -
NEW MAP ON NUTRITION RELEASED


Rome, 9 December - A large food supply gap per person exists between industrialised and least developed countries, with Denmark, Portugal, Ireland, the United States and Greece having the highest food availability, and countries like Mozambique, Burundi, Afghanistan, Eritrea and Somalia, the lowest, according to a new map with the most recent data on nutrition and malnutrition in 177 countries, released today by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The FAO map does not reflect the effects of recent natural disasters, economic crises and conflicts.

For the world as a whole, average kilocalorie (kcal) availability per person per day is 2 720, 66 percent provided by carbohydrates, 23 percent by fats and 11 percent by proteins, FAO said. The industrialised countries have the highest food availability world-wide, with an average daily energy supply per person of 3 340 kcal while it is only 2060 kcal in the poorest countries. The countries in transition reach 2 850 kcal.

A varied and balanced diet provides a variety of nutrients - carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals - essential for proper growth and development, for the prevention of infections and nutritional disorders, and for overall good health.The diet in poorer countries is much less varied and balanced than in the industrialised world. In the least developed countries, cereals comprise 62 percent of the available daily energy, compared with 27 percent in the industrialised countries. Proteins provide less than 10 percent of the energy supply, while in the affluent countries it is more than 12 percent. Fat supply in the poor countries comprises barely 15 percent, compared with 35 percent in the industrialised countries.

"Globally there is enough food to feed the world, but it is not equally distributed and many people do not have the means to buy it," said Hartwig de Haen, FAO Assistant Director-General and head of its Economic and Social Department. "Even where food supplies are adequate at the national level, access to food is often a serious problem. Within countries, and even within households, food is not always equally distributed. To ensure nutritional well-being, every individual must have access at all times to sufficient supplies of a variety of safe, good-quality foods."

According to FAO, more than 800 million people in developing countries are chronically undernourished. In addition, some two billion people are estimated to be affected by micronutrient deficiencies of vitamin A, iron, and iodine.

In the industrialised countries the average daily dietary energy supply (DES) mounts to 3 340 kcal. Food supply is highest in Denmark (3 780 kcal), followed by:

 Portugal (3 650), Ireland (3 620), United States of America (3 620), Greece (3 600), Belgium and Luxembourg (3 570), France (3 550), Italy (3 480), New Zealand (3 410), Austria (3 380), Malta (3 370), Norway (3 320), Germany (3 300), Spain (3 290), Switzerland (3 260), Israel (3 250), United Kingdom (3 210), Netherlands (3 190), Sweden (3 170), Iceland (3 120), Canada (3 100), Finland (2 990), Australia (2 980), Japan (2 900) and South Africa (2 880).

Slightly more than one quarter of the diet in these countries is provided by cereals, another quarter by meat, fish, eggs, milk and cheese. In most of these countries, the average daily intake of fat is high and obesity wide-spread, FAO said; the prevalence of diet-related non-communicable illnesses such as cardio-vascular diseases and high blood pressure is considered to be a major public health problem.

The high figures of energy supply in the industrialised countries most probably do not reflect the true food intake, FAO said, since household food wastage can account for more than five percent, in some cases.

The list of countries in transition (average DES 2 850 kcal) is led by Hungary (3 360), followed by:

Poland (3 310), Kazakhstan (3 120), Belarus (3 110), Slovenia (3 090), Czech Republic (3 080), Yugoslavia (3 040), Slovakia (3 020), Romania (2 930), Ukraine (2 880), Estonia (2 860), Bulgaria (2 830), Russian Federation (2 810), Latvia (2 800), Lithuania (2 800), Rep. of Moldova (2 620), Turkmenistan (2 580), Uzbekistan (2 570), Albania (2 520), Croatia (2 400), Kyrgyzstan (2 400), the Former Yugoslav Rep. of Macedonia (2 370), Tajikistan (2 230), Bosnia and Herzegovina (2 200), Georgia (2 200), Armenia (2 180), Azerbaijan (2 130).

In Latin America and the Caribbean (average DES 2 780 kcal) food supply is highest in Barbados (3 170 kcal), followed by:

Mexico (3 140), Argentina (3 120), Dominica (3 070), Brazil (2 880), Belize (2 840), Costa Rica (2 810), St. Lucia (2 810), Uruguay (2 800), Chile (2 770), Colombia (2 740), Grenada (2 700), Dutch Antilles (2 670), Trinidad and Tobago (2 660), Jamaica (2 620), Suriname (2 560), El Salvador (2 540), Ecuador (2 530), Panama (2 530), Paraguay (2 510), Bahamas (2 480), St. Vincent and the Grenadines (2 430), Guyana (2 410), Venezuela (2 400), Antigua and Barbuda (2 390), Cuba (2 350), Honduras (2 340), Dominican Republic (2 320), Nicaragua (2 310), Peru (2 260), Guatemala (2 250), Kitts and Nevis (2 240), Bolivia (2 160) and Haiti (1 830).

In Sub-Saharan Africa the food supply is comprised primarily of cereals (46 percent) and tubers (20 percent). The average DES is estimated at 2 150 kcal, more than half of the countries are below this level. Food supply is highest in Cape Verde (3 160), followed by:

Mauritius (2 970), Mauritania (2 630), Ghana (2 560), Nigeria (2 550), Swaziland (2 530), Gabon (2 500), Guinea Bissau (2 430), Seychelles (2 410), Senegal (2 390), Cote d'Ivoire (2 380), Sudan (2 360), Benin (2 360), Gambia (2 270), Botswana (2 250), Burkina Faso (2 250), Cameroon (2 200), Uganda (2 190), Lesotho (2 170), Namibia (2 160), Sao Tome and Principe (2 160), Rep. of Congo (2 130), Guinea (2 130), Mali (2 100), Liberia (2 100), Togo (2 100), Niger (2 090), Rwanda (2 060), Malawi (2 050), Zimbabwe (2 040), Sierra Leone (2 020), Tanzania (2 020), Kenya (1 990), Madagascar (1 990), Zambia (1 940), Central African Rep. (1 930), Angola (1 930), Chad (1 920), Djibouti (1 890), Dem. Rep. of Congo (1 880), Comoros (1 830), Ethiopia (1 780), Mozambique (1 720), Burundi (1 710), Eritrea (1 640) and Somalia (1 580).

In the Near East and Northern Africa the average DES is estimated at 2 990 kcal. The food supply is highest in Turkey (3 560), followed by:

Cyprus (3 370), United Arab Emirates (3 330), Syria (3 300), Egypt (3 280), Lebanon (3 280), Tunisia (3 190), Morocco (3 180), Libya (3 140), Algeria (3 020), Kuwait (3 020), Iran (2 880), Jordan (2 730), Saudi Arabia (2 730), Iraq (2 260), Yemen (2 030) and Afghanistan (1 710).

In East and South-East Asia (average DES 2 740 kcal) food supply is highest in South Korea (3 300). The list continues with:

Hongkong (3 260), Indonesia (2 880), Brunei (2 870), Macao (2 860), Malaysia (2 850), China (2 770), Myanmar (2 710), Vietnam (2 450), North Korea (2 390), Philippines (2 370), Thailand (2 330), Laos (2 100), Mongolia (2 010) and Cambodia (1 980).

The list of South Asian (average DES 2 360 kcal) countries comprises:

Maldives (2 470), India (2 390), Pakistan (2 390), Nepal (2 270), Sri Lanka (2 260), Bangladesh (2 060).

In Oceania Fiji (3 010) has the highest food supply, followed by:

French Polynesia (2 890), New Caledonia (2 870), Kiribati (2 730), Vanuatu (2 640), Papua New Guinea (2 270), Solomon Islands (2 100).

*****

For more information please contact:

Erwin Northoff,
Media Officer,
tel: 0039-06-5705 3105,
e-mail: Erwin.Northoff@FAO.Org


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