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Netherlands world no. 1 for plentiful, affordable food17 January 2014, by Alexandra Gowling
International charity Oxfam says the Netherlands has the most plentiful, nutritious, healthy and affordable food in the world.
Its "Good Enough to Eat" index compares 125 countries for which there is full data available to assess the challenges their populations have in getting food.
It revealed that while the Netherlands might have the most expensive restaurants in Western Europe, it has the most affordable and best qualify food available to eat at home.
Good Enough to Eat index
The index asks four questions (with measures attached):
› Do people have enough to eat?
(levels of undernourishment and underweight children)
› Can people afford to eat?
(food price levels compared to other goods and services and food price volatility)
› Is food of good quality?
(diet diversification and access to clean and safe water)
› What are the health outcomes of people’s diet?
(levels of diabetes and obesity in the population)
Using these assessments, the Netherlands is in the top of the brackets of least expensive (relative to incomes), healthiest and best quality food.
The area in which it was not as strong was health outcomes: here it was in the second bracket. It was, however, the highest-rated European nation along with France in this measurement on diabetes and obesity.
Quality of food in Europe
While the Netherlands and many of its near neighbours including France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Denmark all hold high positions in the index, another close neighbour does not.
The UK is among the worst performers in Western Europe, sharing 20th position with Cyprus.
Compared with nations in Africa, however, which hold 23 of the 26 lowest positions in the index, Europe nations generally rate highly. The only non-European nation in the top 20 is Australia.
Right now, one in eight people in the world is going hungry, despite there being enough food in the world to feed everyone. Oxfam’s GROW campaign is calling for changes to the way food is produced and distributed around the world.
"This index lays bare the common concerns that people have with food regardless of where they come from," said Oxfam International Executive Director Winnie Byanyima. "It reveals how the world is failing to ensure that everyone is able to eat healthily, despite there being enough to go around."
GROW wants to see more investment in small-holder agriculture and better infrastructure to boost crop production, prevent waste and improve access to markets.
Good Enough to Eat Top 20
2. France, Switzerland
4. Belgium, Austria, Sweden, Denmark
8. Australia, Italy, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal
13. Greece, Germany, Iceland, Spain, Cyprus, Finland, Norway, UK