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Media Line/All Headline News Examine Agriculture Investment Gap In Middle East

“Arab countries need to invest some $144 billion in agriculture over the next 20 years to meet the food demands of the growing population, an Arab agricultural organization has said,” the Media Line/All Headline News reports in a piece that examines the contributing factors to gaps in food security in the region.

According to Tareq A-Zadjali, director general of the Arab Organization for Agriculture Development, the region faces “an annual food security gap of between $27 [billion] and $29 billion,” which will likely grow wider as the population in the Middle East increases. The current population of “around 335 million, is projected to reach some 545 million by the year 2030,” the news service writes. The Arab Organization for Agriculture Development “is working on a program that will increase food security, with a focus on wheat, rice, sugar and oil,” according to Media Line/All Headline News.

The piece looks at how water security, increases in global pricing on food commodities and regional conflicts affect food security, and includes comments by Mylene Kherallah, regional economist for the Near East and North Africa division at the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

Kherallah said, “The Arab world is one of the driest regions in the world and it will be difficult to be self sufficient on food production. … The region has to use water more efficiently, yield more crop for the drop and rely more stably and consistently on the international and regional market to satisfy the Arab food security because it will be very difficult for the Arabs to produce crops on their own. They have to do both” (5/11).

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