The 2007–2008 food crisis and subsequent economic recession have severely undermined food security and agricultural sustainability worldwide. Failures in market functioning and trade openness have posed particularly high risks to the import-dependent countries in the Arab region. Many of the global causes of the price spikes are still in place, creating uncertainty about food availability and access in the future. Especially in the Arab region, these uncertainties are compounded by water scarcity. A long-term outlook is essential for formulating appropriate policy and investment strategies in order to ensure future food security for the region. After a brief discussion of trends in agricultural growth and investment, this paper presents projections by the International Model for Policy Analysis of Agricultural Commodities and Trade (IMPACT) on agriculture production, trade, demand, prices, and food security up to 2025 and 2050. Simulations are used to compare a baseline scenario (with climate change) with two scenarios incorporating increased investment and supportive policies. The results highlight the key role of agricultural research, as well as expanded irrigation, improved natural resource management, and enhanced market efficiency, in improving food security. Four priority areas are proposed: investments in agricultural research and development, rural infrastructure, and rural institutions; more open regional and international trade to facilitate commodity flows and alleviate supply shortages; pro-poor food and nutrition interventions; and cross-cutting issues of policy coherence, gender dimensions, inclusion of traditional populations, and coordination mechanisms to deal with climate change and ecosystem challenges.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
For the purpose of this analysis, Arab countries include all members of the League of Arab States—Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, UAE, and Yemen—except Comoros.
The GHI is a combined measure of three equally weighted components: percentage of undernourished people in the population, prevalence of underweight children under the age of five, and the under-five mortality rate. The 2009 GHI is based on data until 2007.
Food availability is modeled endogenously while other factors are exogenously determined from various data sources, including the World Health Organization’s Global Database on Child Growth Malnutrition, the UN Administrative Committee on Coordination—Subcommittee on Nutrition, the World Bank’s World Development Indicators, the FAOSTAT database, and the UNESCOSTAT database.
Geographical representation in the Arab region in the IMPACT model is at the country level, except for the Arabian Peninsula (modeled as a single entity) and Comoros (part of an aggregate “rest of the world”).
Primarily FAOSTAT (http://faostat.fao.org/).
“Developed” and “developing” countries in this scenario analysis are based on the classification developed by the World Bank (2009a) of high- and low-income countries except for island nations that are aggregated into a rest of the world group. In the representation of the Arab region in IMPACT, the Arabian Peninsula is considered “developed” and the remainder of the region is “developing”.
When growth rates are negative, the decline is slowed by the factor noted (i.e., becomes less negative); if there is no growth, there will, likewise, be no effect of these scenarios.
This issue is discussed elsewhere in this volume; see papers by Hallam, Cotula et al., Tanyeri-Abur & Elamin, and Chaaban et al.
Abdel Gadir Ali, A., & Fan, S. (2007). Introduction. In A. Abdel Gadir Ali & S. Fan (Eds.), Public policy and poverty reduction in the Arab region. Kuwait: Arab Planning Institute.
Arab Water Council. (2009). Arab countries regional report. Available at: http://portal.worldwaterforum5.org/wwf5/en-us/worldregions/MENA%20Arab%20region/Consultation%20Library/MENA-Arab%20Regional%20Report.pdf. Accessed 5 April 2010.
Belloumi, M., & Matoussi, M. S. (2009). Measuring agricultural productivity growth in MENA countries. Journal of Development and Agricultural Economics, 1(4), 103–113.
Boserup, E. (1970). Women’s role in economic development. New York: St. Martin’s.
Chemingui, M. A. (2007). Public spending and poverty reduction in an oil-based economy: The case of Yemen. IFPRI Discussion Paper No. 701. Washington, DC: International Food Policy Research Institute.
Chopra, K., Leemans, R., Kumar, P., & Simons, H. (Eds.). (2005). Ecosystems and human well-being: policy responses: Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Volume 3. Washington: Island Press.
Christiaensen, L., Demery, L., & Küh, J. (2006). The role of agriculture in poverty reduction: An empirical perspective. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper Series No. 4013. Washington, DC: The World Bank.
Diao, X., Hazell, P., Resnick, D., & Thurlow, J. (2007). The role of agriculture in development: Implications for Sub-Saharan Africa. Research Report No. 153. Washington, DC: International Food Policy Research Institute.
Evenson, R. E., & Gollin, D. (2003). Crop variety improvement and its effect on productivity. Wallingford: CAB International.
Fan, S., Al-Riffai, P., El-Said, M., Yu, B., & Kamaly, A. (2007). Public spending, growth, and poverty reduction in Egypt: A multi-level analysis. In A. Abdel Gadir Ali & S. Fan (Eds.), Public policy and poverty reduction in the Arab region. Kuwait: Arab Planning Institute.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). (2009a). State of food insecurity in the world 2009. Rome: FAO.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). (2009b). More people than ever are victims of hunger. Press release, June 19. Available at: http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/user_upload/newsroom/docs/Press%20release%20june-en.pdf. Accessed 5 April 2010.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). (2009c). FAOSTAT database. Available at: http://faostat.fao.org. Accessed 5 April 2010.
Hubert, B., Rosegrant, M. W., van Boekel, M. A. J. S., & Ortiz, R. (2010). The future of food: scenarios for 2050. Crop Science, 50, S33–S50.
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). (2009). Building climate resilience in the agriculture sector of Asia and the Pacific. Manila: Asian Development Bank.
International Monetary Fund (IMF). (2009). World Economic Outlook database. Available at: http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2009/02/weodata/index.aspx. Accessed 5 April 2010.
Lele, U., Pretty, J., Terry, E., Trigo, E., & Klousia, M. (2010). Transforming agricultural research for development. Report for the Global Conference on Agricultural Research, ‘Enhancing Development Impact from Research: Building on Demand’, 28–31 March 2010, Montpellier, France. Rome, Italy: Global Forum for Agricultural Research.
McIntyre, B. D., Herren, H. R., Wakhungu, J., & Watson, R. T. (Eds.). (2009). International assessment of agricultural knowledge, science and technology for development: Global report. Washington: Island Press.
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA). (2005). Ecosystems and human well-being: Synthesis. Washington: Island Press.
Nakicenovic, N., Alcamo, J., Davis, G., de Vries, B., Fenhann, J., &, Gaffin, S. (2000). Special report on emissions scenarios: a special report of Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Online: http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc/emission/index.htm. Accessed 5 April 2010.
Nelson, G. C., Rosegrant, M. W., Koo, J., Robertson, R., Sulser, T. B., Zhu, T., et al. (2009). Climate change: Impact on agriculture and costs of adaptation. Food Policy Report 21. Washington, DC, USA: International Food Policy Research Institute.
Nin-Pratt, A., & Fan, S. (2009). R&D investment in national and international agricultural research: productivity and poverty impact and allocation among regions. Background note for supporting the development of CGIAR Strategy and Results Framework. Available at: http://alliance.cgxchange.org/documentation-for-the-development-of-the-cgiar-strategy-and-mega-programs/SimulationModel_R%26Dinvestmentproductivityandpovertymodeling.pdf. Accessed 5 April 2010.
Pardey, P. G., Alston, J. M., Christian, J. E., & Fan, S. (1996). Hidden harvest: U.S. benefits from international research aid. IFPRI Food Policy Report. Washington, DC, USA: International Food Policy Research Institute.
Quisumbing, A. R. (1996). Male–female differences in agricultural productivity: methodological issues and empirical evidence. World Development, 24, 1579–1595.
Rosegrant, M. W., Agcaoili-Sombilla, M., & Perez, N. D. (1995). Global food projections to 2020: Implications for investment. 2020 Discussion Paper No. 5. Washington, DC: International Food Policy Research Institute.
Rosegrant, M. W., Cai, X., & Cline, S. A. (2002). World water and food to 2025: Dealing with scarcity. Washington: International Food Policy Research Institute and International Water Management Institute.
Rosegrant, M. W., Msangi, S., Ringler, C., Sulser, T. B., Zhu, T., & Cline, S. A. (2008). International model for policy analysis of agricultural commodities and trade (IMPACT): Model description. Washington, DC: International Food Policy Research Institute. Available at: http://www.ifpri.org/themes/impact/impactwater.pdf. Accessed 5 April 2010.
Rosegrant, M. W., Paisner, M. S., Meijer, S., & Witcover, J. (2001). Global food projections to 2020: Emerging trends and alternative futures. Washington: International Food Policy Research Institute.
Rosegrant, M. W., Ringler, C., Sulser, T. B., Ewing, M., Palazzo, A., Zhu, T., et al. (2009). Agriculture and food security under global change: Prospects for 2025/2050. Background note for supporting the development of CGIAR Strategy and Results Framework. Available at: http://alliance.cgxchange.org/documentation-for-the-development-of-the-cgiar-strategy-and-mega-programs/SRF_IMPACT10-10-09c.pdf. Accessed 5 April 2010.
Smith, L., &. Haddad, L. (2000). Explaining child malnutrition in developing countries: a cross-country analysis. IFPRI Research Report. Washington, DC, USA: International Food Policy Research Institute.
Sulser, T. B., Ringler, C., Zhu, T., Msangi, S., Bryan, E., & Rosegrant, M. W. (2010). Green and blue water accounting in the Ganges and Nile basins: implications for food and agricultural policy. Journal of Hydrology, 384, 276–291.
United Nations (UN). (2000). United Nations Millennium Declaration (A/RES/55/2). New York: United Nations General Assembly.
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). (2009). The least developed countries report 2009: the state and development governance. New York: United Nations.
United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA). (2009). State of the world’s indigenous peoples. New York: United Nations.
United Nations Population Division (UNPD). (2006). World population prospects: the 2006 revision. New York, USA: United Nations.
von Braun, J. & Meizen-Dick, R. (2009). “Land grabbing” by foreign investors in developing countries: risks and opportunities. IFPRI Policy Brief 13. Washington, DC, USA: International Food Policy Research Institute.
von Braun, J. Ahmed, A., Asenso-Okyere, K., Fan, S.. Gulati, A., & Hoddinott, J. (2008). High food prices: The what, who, and how of proposed policy actions. IFPRI Policy Brief 1A. Washington, DC, USA: International Food Policy Research Institute.
von Grebmer, K., Nestorova, B., Quisumbing, A., Fertziger, R., Fritschel, H. & Pandya-Lorch, R. (2009). Global hunger index. The challenge of hunger: focus on financial crisis and gender equality. Bonn, Germany; Washington, DC, USA; and Dublin, Ireland: Deutsche Welthungerhilfe, International Food Policy Research Institute, and Concern.
Warren, D. M. (1991). Using indigenous knowledge in agricultural development. World Bank Discussion Papers (127). Washington, DC, USA: The World Bank.
World Bank. (2007). World development report 2008: Agriculture for development. Washington: The World Bank.
World Bank. (2009a). World development indicators 2009. Washington: The World Bank.
World Bank. (2009b). World development report 2010: Development and climate change. Washington: The World Bank.
World Bank, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, & International Fund for Agricultural Development. (2009). Improving food security in Arab countries. Washington: The World Bank.
The authors would like to thank Claudia Ringler, Mandy Ewing, Amanda Palazzo, Tingju Zhu, Gerald C. Nelson, Jawoo Koo, Richard Robertson, Siwa Msangi, and Miroslav Batka who made critical contributions to recent updates of the IMPACT model.
About this article
Cite this article
Sulser, T.B., Nestorova, B., Rosegrant, M.W. et al. The future role of agriculture in the Arab region’s food security. Food Sec. 3, 23–48 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12571-010-0100-5
- Food price crisis
- IMPACT simulation model
- Market functioning
- Trade openness
- Food security