Welcome to the Middle East Today

The Middle East has traditionally been important for the world economy. The Middle East situation today has an impact on all aspects of life in America and much of the world.

Only by understanding the motivations of the various factions in the Middle East can we hope to understand how to promote peace and national security for Middle Eastern nations, Europe, and the United States.

Oct 23, 2010

International Food Day – One Billion People are Hungry

FAO, the United Agency, stated in its 30th annual meeting (10/16/10) that there are around one billion people worldwide who are hungry and do not have enough food to eat on a regular basis. Most of those who face hunger are in Asia and Africa. The FAO’s report revealed that the main reasons behind the spread of hunger are attributed to global climate changes, lack of financial investment in agricultural development and the increase in poverty. The FAO meeting called on world leaders to increase their investment in food production and help the more than one billion people who experience hunger on a daily basis.

In previous posts, references were made to the fact that none of the 22 Arab states could be classified as food sufficient. All rely on food imports to meet their basic food needs. Even Sudan, which was classified as having the potential to be the bread basket of the Middle East and Africa, has been listed by FAO as among the 25 countries who are experiencing hunger. The reasons behind this are attributed to the incompetence of the Sudanese government, the lack of experts in agricultural development, the lack of financial investment and the poor infrastructure in the country as a whole.

Sudan possesses a high percentage of good agricultural land and plenty of available water for cultivation. Unfortunately, Sudan’s incompetent political leadership and the civil conflicts in Darfur and southern Sudan have been a distraction from economic development. Furthermore, foreign interference in Sudan has also created many problems for Sudan.

Recently, the World Bank warned Egypt and Morocco, who are the biggest wheat importers in the Middle East, of the continuous increase of wheat prices. Such increases will add further financial burden on the cost of food imports.

International experts also warned Egypt that the shortages of water will impact food production. This also should be viewed in light of the continuous population growth. At the present, Egypt imports half of its wheat from abroad, which is nearly 7 million metric tons per year. Also, Egypt imports 40% of its meat. The prices of food continue to increase and the majority of Egyptians can’t afford to buy meat.

According to Egyptian experts, the shortage of food production is also attributed to government’s poor management of water and the agricultural sector, as well as poor investment in the development and growth of food production (www.almasry-alyoum.com, 10/16/10). Furthermore, the FAO also stated that Yemen is listed among the countries that have been experiencing shortages of food. The report noted one person out of three experience hunger on a continuous basis. This reflects that one-third of the Yemeni population (7.2 million people) are experiencing hunger (www.aljazeera.net, 10/16/10). What also adds to the Yemeni hardship is the shortage of water and the civil wars that have been going on for several years.

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