NRE conference on food security in the Arab countries


Food Security in the Arab Countries: New Challenges and Opportunities in the Context of Global Price Volatility

March 1-4, 2010

Sultan Qaboos University

Muscat, Oman

All Arab countries rely heavily on world markets to meet their food needs. The experience of this year and last year was quite dramatic for many Arab countries as food import prices quadrupled for some commodities and domestic inflation reached double digit rates. At the macro level the effect was reflected in huge food trade deficits and a jump in budget expenditure on food subsidies. At the micro level, the purchasing power of low income populations was significantly affected and the proportion of persons below the poverty line increased.

Countries mitigated these negative effects by adjusting their trade policies, mainly by reducing tariff rates, increasing export duties and controlling the prices of staple foods. However, trade policies, along with domestic policies addressing the domestic supply chains of food, are needed to respond to the long term food security challenge facing Arab countries.

Countries which are constrained by limited agricultural resources (GCC) have also responded to the recent food crisis by seeking solutions to food security issues through investment in agricultural production in land-abundant countries within the Arab region and elsewhere. The complementarities between land abundant and capital abundant countries in the Arab region are potentially capable of ensuring regional food security but require the revitalization of regional trade agreements to overcome intra-trade and investment barriers that have hindered cooperation in the past.

In addition, regional food security is affected by global food security and Arab countries have a stake in playing a major role in reforming the world food trading system toward a system driven by efficient international markets but in which food security is at the heart of its agenda.

The objective of this conference is to bring together researchers, experts, policy makers and other practitioners from the Arab region and the world to present and discuss food security in its domestic and international dimensions and in the light of the recent global food crisis. The organizing committee welcomes conceptual and empirical research papers as well as case studies on food policies of particular Arab countries to alleviate the effects of the global price surge.

Preliminary Conference Program

On Day 2: Wednesday 3 March 2010

Session 3: Securing Food from Foreign Investment in the Farming Sector (plenary session)

  • 8:15-8:45  Food for Oil? Gulf Agro Investments Abroad and the Future of Gulf Food Security - Dr. Eckart Woertz,Program Manager Economics,Gulf Research Center, Dubai
  • 8-45-9:00 Discussion
  • 9:00-9:20  The Impact of Foreign Agricultural Investment for Food Security in Saudi Arabia - Dr. Safar Kahtani, King Saud University
  • 9: 20-9:40 Corporate Farming and Food Security: A Case Study of South Asia - Dr. Rafik Ahmed Chandio, Pakistan
  • 9:40-10:00 The Performance of Foreign Venture Investment in the Farming Sector: Lessons from Tunisia - Sahla Mezghani, Ministry of Agriculture and hydraulic resources, Tunisia

Original source: Sultan Qaboos University

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