09/30/2022, 00.00
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A common front emerges in the Middle East to tackle the region’s food crisis

The agricultural ministers of Iraq, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon ink a deal to work together. COVID-19, war, and supply problems threaten global stocks. Up to 30 per cent of grain supply is at risk. Drought and water shortages also loom over the Mideast.

Amman (AsiaNews) – The agriculture ministers of Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria reached an agreement on food security at a time of great uncertainty over supply and global trade in the aftermath of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

In recent months, the World Bank raised the alarm with respect to the region. Conscious of the 2011 Arab Spring and its impact, it notes the risk of unrest and new conflicts that hunger might trigger because of war on Europe’s periphery.

In light of the situation, a number Mideast countries are coming together to face the emergency co-operatively. Jordanian Agriculture Minister, Khalid Hneifat met with his Syrian counterpart, Muhammad Qatna, as well as Iraqi Minister Muhammad Khafaji, and Lebanese Minister Abbas Hajj Hassan, the Jordan News Agency (Petra) reports.

The four met in Amman last Sunday to discuss ways to tackle the issues their countries face amid worsening global events.

At the end, Minister Hneifat announced that he and his counterparts approved a project by the World Food Programme (WFP), to set up a regional centre for food security in Jordan.

They also agreed to strengthen partnerships in food production and agricultural marketing, boosting the use of local raw materials.

The agreement also includes the Jordanian-Palestinian Agricultural Marketing Company regarding trade, contracts, and non-traditional farming.

The meeting came at a time of growing demand for food, sharp price increases, and the need to boost strategic reserves ahead of a looming global crisis.

COVID-19, trade restrictions, and now Russia’s war against Ukraine have further damaged supply chains and international markets. Up to 30 per cent of global grains supplies are at risk.

Making matters worse droughts and water shortages are getting worse, especially in the Middle East, starting in Syria and Iraq, which are heavily dependent on the Tigris and the Euphrates.

Faced with such growing threats, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq are joining forces to work together in infrastructure development, boost investment, and improve efficiency in their food industries.

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