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In The News
   
 
 

 

In The News

 
November 11 - ARAB WORLD: To fight off hunger and food shortages, governments must plan
 
Article: Signs Of The Last Times|
 
When Russia imposed an embargo on wheat exports this year, soaring wheat prices raised concern about the possibility of a new food crisis. Importing countries rushed to avoid supply shortages, producers hesitated to market their reserves, and brokers speculated about what would happen next, all of which created tensions in the wheat market and fueled concerns that threatened to turn the potential crisis into a real possibility.

The limited number of suppliers on the global cereal market increases dangers faced by importing countries in the Arab region. Furthermore, the demand for cereal in Arab countries is expected to increase along with an annual population growth of more than 2%, while global population rises only 1.1%.

Given the important role wheat plays in the diet of many Arab households, several governments have sought to sustain or subsidize local prices. These measures aim to protect household purchasing power from any sudden rise in wheat prices, which might drag them toward poverty.

Regardless of whether short-term policies can help manage the sudden rise in wheat prices, strategic questions about food security remind Arab decision makers that the reasons behind the rising price of wheat and other staple foods are not temporary. Structural factors namely increasing demographics and improving living conditions fuel the global demand for staple foods. Moreover, urban development, rural migration, and repetitive droughts have led to a reduction in the amount of arable land and a decrease in the global wheat supply.

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