Food Security Bulletin - Issues 27 and 28 - Summer 2023

author: Raja Khalidi , Iman Saadeh, Fares Awad, Anmar Rafiede
year: 2023

 

Since 2009, the Palestine Economic policy Research Institute (MAS) has periodically published the Food Security Bulletin as a voluntary contribution to the efforts of players in the food security sector in Palestine. The Bulletin aims to support decision-makers and institutions working in this sector, namely, improving the food security situation of Palestinians. The Bulletin constitutes a useful, periodic reference for reviewing developments in this sector. It is only one of MAS’s research initiatives that has attracted much attention in recent years, evidenced by further research collaboration with partners, particularly the World Food Program (WFP) and the UN Agriculture and Food Organization (FAO).


This Bulletin covers the period from Summer 2022 to Summer 2023. New and crucial ‘variables’ have emerged with an impact on food security: the Russian-Ukrainian war; sudden and severe escalations in climatic changes; and new droughts. This disturbing scene is accompanied by increasingly protective trade policies, aiming to reduce the export of basic crops, in light of the decline in cultivation (production).


It is expected that these disturbances in the global food system will have an impact on the way policymakers conceive and manage policies for the production and distribution of food across the globe. From this standpoint, this Bulletin reviews the World Food Summit held in Italy last month, which called for transformation and change in current systems, in order to achieve higher levels of food security. Its proposals were discussed at a regional level. However, numerous social movements interested in “food sovereignty” voiced opposition to its proposed policies and outputs. These voices of opposition fear that chemical fertilizer companies and large agricultural corporations will continue to monopolize the markets for seeds and other agricultural inputs, as such, outputs will reflect the interests of these companies, at the expense of small-scale farmers. The Bulletin also outlines the latest developments and changes in food prices globally, and in the Palestinian market locally. These are reviewed periodically, using data sourced from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) and the FAO. 


The Bulletin includes literature reviews of reports issued by the FAO on urbanization and the transformation of agrifood systems - two key topics discussed at the World Food Summit. It also reviews two research papers: the first outlines common paths to food insecurity in the event of conflict, using the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) as a case study. Its results show that political difficulties in the oPt are so dire “that they outweigh the impact on food insecurity, while also limiting the effectiveness of support programs designed to mitigate food insecurity”. This is a shocking conclusion that deserves further study. The second paper discusses the consequences of the Russian-Ukrainian war on food security in the Middle East - a decisive factor in influencing food prices and the availability of basic commodities in this region. Most important is the wheat market (used to make bread), a staple food item across the Middle East.


While MAS continues to report on the overall food security situation in Palestine, it is also deepening and expanding its coverage of related issues, through both regular coverage of agriculture and related social development issues in the Quarterly Economic Monitor, as well as in-depth analytical policy studies on agriculture finance, food losses, the food system, and related SDGs. Through its comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach, the Institute offers an inclusive forum for research and dialogue on the complex and evolving issues affecting food security and nutrition. Visit our new and updated website to learn more

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