Threats to food security need to be addressed before reaching crisis point

(File photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — In a report published on Tuesday, UNICEF warned of threats that might lead to a global food-security crisis, and of “children suffering from wasting” and dying from preventable diseases. اضافة اعلان

The organization warned that a set of global shocks to food security around the world – like the war in Ukraine, the fact that economies are still struggling to recover from the pandemic, and that some countries still suffer from drought because of climate change – is creating the conditions for a big rise in the number of people who are starving to death.

Even before the Ukrainian war put pressure on food security, around the world conflict, climate shocks and COVID-19 were having a catastrophic impact on families’ ability to feed their children, said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine, both nations among the world’s top agricultural producers and exporters, has blocked supply lines and impacted global food security.

A previous UN report said that among Jordanians, 53 percent are vulnerable to food insecurity and around 3 percent of households are food insecure. Jordan ranked 7th in the Arab region and 49th internationally, out of 113 countries, on the 2021 Global Food Security Index.

“Jordan is not so far from experiencing a food security crisis; we are experiencing a shortage of strategic stocks,” head of Jordanian Poultry Producers Association Hassan Abu Daqr told Jordan News.

According to Abu Daqr, some global conditions must be addressed in order to prevent the problems from worsening.
Jordan is currently witnessing a fourfold increase in the production costs, which have been greatly affected by the corona crisis, the Ukrainian war, and climate change.
The poultry sector was greatly affected by the Russian-Ukrainian war, which led to a reduction in the supply of feed and different kinds of oil, given that Ukraine is one of the major countries that exports wheat, feed, and oil, said Abu Daqr.

Climate change has also contributed to the decrease in the quantities of feed and an increase in their prices.

“To avoid the impact of these crises, I believe that the government should follow a strategy that helps farmers and poultry farmers,” he said, adding that this can be done by reducing taxes and giving local farmers financial facilities, like loans and grants.

Jordan Valley Farmers’ Union President Adnan Khadam told Jordan News that “Jordan is currently witnessing a fourfold increase in the production costs”, which have been greatly affected by the corona crisis, the Ukrainian war, and climate change.

Another consequence of the climate change is lower quantities of or no rain, which in Jordan translates in dams filled only 30 percent of their capacity.

Adding to the food security woes, the unprecedentedly low temperatures Jordan witnessed this year had a significant impact on agricultural production and crops, Khadam said.

To avoid getting closer to a food security crisis, the government should create a specialized committee to study the problems and how to reduce their impact, which “could be a significant step toward solving the problems and not allowing them to exacerbate”, he added.

“Farmers must be supported by reducing electricity prices, exempting them from taxes and customs duties, and giving them long-term loans,” Khadam suggested. 

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