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

Food insecurity in the Mediterranean Basin:
Time to raise a red flag?

November 19, 2012


The discussions held in Europe concerning the CAP reform are providing the opportunity to examine the future of agriculture in neighboring countries to the South and East of the Mediterranean Sea (SEMC). Undermined by a food crisis in 2008 and the 2011 Arab Spring, the area––called “Rome’s breadbasket in ancient times––is currently facing significant deficits in terms of food security, now aggravated by a context of price hyper-volatility.

Securing food supplies is all the more tenuous since the SEMC are increasingly reliant on outside markets. Since the 1970s, these nations have increased grain imports from the European Union or the United States. While the area meets its needs for fruit, vegetable and partial meat production, the North African region wheat imported over 18 million tons of wheat in 2011, or 18 percent of all volumes traded globally, as reported by the International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM). In fact, Tunisia currently imports 80 percent of its needs for soft wheat, and 20 percent of durum wheat.

In addition and in spite of the fact that agriculture is one of the key pillars of Mediterranean economies and supports 25 percent of the area’s population, farming remains weakened by structural factors: Lack of productive land and chronic droughts, strong demographic pressure, scarcity of supply at the local level in opposition to an explosion of demand, and ageing infrastructures.

Structurally strained, what can the SEMC do in a context of price hyper-volatility, political instability and latent economic and social crisis (such as inflationist pressure and endemic unemployment)?

Local political initiatives––some of them pro-active––for agriculture are essentially measures to support small farmers or to upgrade agricultural infrastructures. Local decision-makers are becoming aware of the strategic challenge of agriculture in economic, political and social terms, especially after the Arab revolutions.

More globally, fighting price volatility and food insecurity is at the heart of concerns throughout the world. Each nation tries to implement its own agricultural strategy. Yet, as long as the European Union CAP or the American Farm Bill, or still Russia’s export ban practices, give an indication of the difficulty in adopting effective regional agricultural policies. In addition, the lack of convergence of these policies to initiate a global agricultural governance system is seriously subjecting vulnerable and less structured zones such as the SEMC, which are net wheat importers to exogenous shocks (sharp agricultural price turnarounds or new spikes in food prices).

In that environment and to plan for the long-term development of local agricultural production and the progressive agricultural independence in the SEMC, the implementation of a new agricultural governance system, based on regional cooperation and solidarity, and coordinated at the international level, seems to be a requirement. A transparent and clear global agricultural governance system regulating agricultural markets that is able to redevelop tomorrow’s agriculture and ensure food security for nine billion people worldwide in 2050. For, as José Graziano Da Silva pointed out in a November 8 FAO press release, “droughts or floods are not what cause crises, it is lack of governance”.
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Paris, 15 December 2018