The Food Gap in MENA• MENA has the largest food gap of any region.• Most Arab countries import around 50% of food they consume.• MENA has the largest regional net imports of cereal (58 million tons in 2007).• Many Arab countries are in the top 20 countries for food imports per capita.• FAO predicts that in next 20 years MENA food imports will grow by 64%
% of income spent on foodUSA 6.9%UAE 8.7%Qatar 12.7%Kuwait 14.5%Israel 17.7%Saudi 23.7%Iran 25.9%Tunisia 35.7%Egypt 38.1%Morocco 40.4%Jordan 40.7%Algeria 43.8%
Food demonstrations and riots in Bahrain, Jordan,Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi, Egypt and Yemen in2007/08
Impact of global food price increase on MENA • 2007/08 MENA inflation was twice the global average • Rising food prices passed onto consumers – poverty, inequality, undernourishment. • Political instability – food riots in Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi and Yemen. • Fiscal pressures • Increased trade deficits
BUT:• Food prices were only one small part of the uprising and should not be used to detract from the fundamental issues of human dignity, human rights and true political freedom.• It is difficult to establish causation – not all countries with rising food prices suffered political uprisings.
The politics of food in MENA1. The impact of rising international food prices on domestic politics2. The geo-political implications of relying on a global food market where 5 suppliers (Argentina, Canada, EU, Australia and USA) supply 73% of world’s traded cereals (FAO 2008).
Food Sovereignty – encompassespolitical concerns around the issue of control. • More domestic food production in MENA, especially grains (may not be economically rational). • Land acquisition overseas (controversial). • Strengthening the position of MENA countries and the region in global food markets