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NZ Beaten by Australia in Oxfam’s new global food table

New Zealand is ranked 23rd in the world for having the most plentiful, nutritious, healthy and affordable diet, falling behind Sweden (4th), Australia (8th), the United Kingdom and the USA (21st) among others, according to a new food database by worldwide development organisation Oxfam.

The Netherlands took out the No. 1 spot beating France and Switzerland into second place. Chad is last at 125th behind Ethiopia and Angola.

European countries occupy the entire top 20 bar one – Australia. African countries occupy the bottom 30 places in the table except for four – Laos, Bangladesh, Pakistan and India are there too.

Oxfam’s “Good Enough to Eat” index compares 125 countries where full data is available to create a snapshot of the different challenges people face in getting food. Oxfam’s GROW campaign is calling for urgent reform to the way food is produced and distributed around the world to end the scandal of one in eight people going hungry despite there being enough to feed everyone. The new index looks at whether people have enough to eat, food quality, affordability, and dietary health.

On Obesity, New Zealand is in the worst third of countries, sharing 39th position with Slovenia.

Oxfam International Executive Director Winnie Byanyima said “This index lays bare the common concerns that people have with food regardless of where they come from. It reveals how the world is failing to ensure that everyone is able to eat healthily, despite there being enough to go around.”

Food in Guinea, The Gambia, Chad and Iran costs people two-and-a-half times more than other consumer goods, making those the most expensive countries for citizens to buy food. The price of food in the US is relatively the cheapest and most stable in the world. Angola and Zimbabwe suffer from the most volatile food prices, researchers found.

The countries whose citizens struggle for enough food, with the worst rates of malnourishment and underweight children, are Burundi, Yemen, Madagascar and India. On the other side of the table, Cambodia and Burundi are countries that score better by having among the lowest levels of obesity and diabetes in the world, while US, Mexico, Fiji, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia score most poorly with high rates of diabetes.

“Poverty and inequality are the real drivers of hunger. Hunger happens where governance is poor, distribution weak, when markets fail, and when people don’t have enough money and resources to buy all the good and services they need,” Byanyima said. “Having sufficient healthy and affordable food is not something that much of the world enjoys.”

Oxfam is working worldwide to provide long-term solutions that will help people grow enough food to eat and make a living. In Chad, Oxfam is helping farmers grow and diversify more crops, providing veterinary training to help ensure cattle are stronger and helping to build more food storage, so that people are better prepared with the next drought conditions.

Oxfam’s GROW campaign is calling for more investment in small-holder agriculture and better infrastructure to boost crop production, prevent waste and improve access to markets. It wants action to tackle climate change, better regulation of food commodities markets to prevent food price hikes and improved land rights so people do not lose the land they rely upon to grow food.


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