Arab Countries Faces Serious Food Security Challenge, High Poverty Rates, Report Suggests

A new report by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) “says Arab countries face a serious food security challenge and that poverty rates are much higher than official numbers suggest,” VOA News reports, adding, “It blames the situation on vulnerability to volatile food prices, natural disasters and water scarcity” (DeCapua, 2/6). The report, titled “Beyond the Arab Awakening: Policies and Investments for Poverty Reduction and Food Security,” offers three key policy recommendations: to “improve data and capacity for evidence-based decision-making,” to “foster growth that enhances food security,” and to “revisit the allocation and efficiency of public spending,” an IFPRI press release states (2/6).

“‘In general, we know way too little about the food security and poverty in the Arab world and that has several reasons. And one of the major reasons is that the access and availability to data is really limited,’ said Clemens Breisinger, an IFPRI research fellow and lead author of the report,” VOA writes (2/6). “Food security in the Arab world is once again in the spotlight this week as Beirut hosts a conference” called “Food Secure Arab World: A Roadmap for Policy & Research,” which “bring[s] together leading thinkers in fields relating to food security — economics, agriculture, trade, water, health and nutrition,” AlertNet News Blog notes (Nguyen, 2/7).