A joint study by the World Bank and FAO’s Investment Centre Division entitled: “The Grain Chain: Food Security and Managing Wheat Imports in Arab Countries”, has now been published. Following the agriculture commodity price shocks of 2007-08 and 2010-11, volatility in the international wheat market raised global food security concerns. Arab countries are particularly vulnerable to wheat price shocks as they are highly dependent on the global wheat market. and import nearly one third of the world’s traded wheat. As this is anticipated to surpass 40 percent over the next ten years, investing in more efficient logistics and strategic storage may improve food security.
Whereas most studies of wheat-import supply chains (WISCs) have looked at isolated parts of the process, this paper provides an overall strategic framework for Arab countries to increase supply chain efficiency and improve food security. The authors examine the WISC from the destination port to the flour mill and highlight three critical sections — strategic storage, logistics, and procurement. The report also offers strategic recommendations for Arab countries to improve efficiency and reliability of their supply chain and to reduce the cost of importing wheat. During consultations, the team additionally presented specific recommendations to each country involved in the study.
The report also focuses on the evaluation of tradeoffs, whether the choice is between allocating resources to WISC infrastructure versus other sectors; or micro-level tradeoffs of where in the WISC to invest. Julian Lampietti, Lead Economist at the World Bank Middle East and North Africa Sustainable Development Department, and co-author of the report, commented: “With high dependence on imports and scarce water resources, Arab countries face a unique set of food security challenges. This report can help policymakers assess the tradeoffs they face in developing a comprehensive food security strategy.”
For the full report, please see below.
Related links: Article in Handshake magazine and event in FAO.