Monday, June 9, 2008

Food in the Middle East and North Africa

In MENA, household food insecurity, which is closely related to poverty and undernourishment, is most severe in rural areas and concentrated within Iraq, Sudan, and Yemen. 25% of the MENA population may be poor and 7% undernourished. The key to increased national and household-level food security is pro-poor growth, driven by export-oriented, labor-intensive sectors. Agricultural sector policies should be subordinate to the pro-poor growth goal and not to the goal of food self-sufficiency. Such a strategy requires conflict resolution; macroeconomic stability; physical and human capital accumulation; reliance on markets and the private sector, and diffusion of ecologically friendly farming practices.

JEL Classification Codes: O13, O53, Q18

Key Words: Middle East and North Africa, food security, poverty, agriculture,
development strategy

This paper was published under the same title and by the same authors on pp. 1-31 in Lofgren, Hans, ed. (2003) Food, Agriculture, and Economic Policy in the Middle East and North Africa. Research in Middle East Economics, Volume 5. Amsterdam: JAI Press/Elsevier and is issued as a Discussion Paper with permission from Elsevier. The Elsevier home page is at For information about the volume, see (Thanks Ramla)

Discussion paper is a bit old but very useful for general trends

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