A new vision for agriculture
momagri, movement for a world agricultural organization, is a think tank chaired by Christian Pèes.
It brings together, managers from the agricultural world and important people from external perspectives,
such as health, development, strategy and defense. Its objective is to promote regulation
of agricultural markets by creating new evaluation tools, such as economic models and indicators,
and by drawing up proposals for an agricultural and international food policy.
A look at the news

North Africa and Middle East:
The hot spot of food dependence

November 9, 2015

A recent joint report published on October 28 by the French Institute for Research in Agronomics (INRA) and the Pluriagri association outlines a possible disaster scenario for North Africa and the Middle East (MENA) based on a retrospective analysis of the agricultural and food system in these areas (1961-2012). Accordingly, the region’s food dependence should increase between now and 2050. The share agro-food imports in total food consumption would go from 40 percent to at least or in excess of 50 percent as a result of climate change. The latter might even lead to a farmland loss of 50 percent or more in the Maghreb countries.

The food dependence of these regions was 10 percent in 1961 and has increased to 40 percent today, since the slow progress of yields could not keep up with food demand. As a result, Tunisia now imports 80 percent of its soft wheat needs, and 20 percent of hard wheat. This is referred to as “grain hyper-dependence”, to use the expression of Sébastien Abis, a researcher at the International Center for Advanced Agronomics Studies in the Mediterranean basin (CIHEAM).

“Anywhere weapons resonate, food security is failing,” adds the researcher. In fact, conflicts are also powerful catalysts that can quickly turn the situation into a humanitarian disaster. The Nobelist in economics Amartya Sen declared that democracy is an effective defense to prevent a food crisis from escalating to a food shortage, and the latter from leading to a revolution.

Lastly, the food dependence of these regions make them all the more vulnerable to erratic market fluctuations and sharp agricultural price reversals, since agricultural price volatility generates situations that are difficult to sustain, such as the events at the roots of the 2007-2008 food riots.

So what are the alternatives beyond the pressing need to shake off our wait-and-see approach?

One of the researchers of the report indicates that while mastering the consequences of climate change is a crucial component in the fight against food insecurity, we also need “a combination of levers––favorable public policies and significant investments”––to curb the region’s food dependence.

In addition, if fighting climate hazards, preserving our water resources and carrying out research and innovation are and will continue to be our missions for the next decades, they cannot be sustained without international cooperation and a binding framework capable of implementing common principles, tools and indicators.

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Paris, 24 June 2019