By Kaitlin Junod
By Kaitlin Junod
Rabat – Ahead of the COP21 summit in Paris, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) released a report saying natural disasters triggered by climate change—such as droughts, floods, and storms—have risen in frequency in the past three decades, posing a threat to global food security.
Between the years of 2003-2013 the average annual number of disasters has doubled since the 1980s, according to the report, causing about $1.3 billion in damage. These natural hazards have seriously negative impacts on agriculture and hamper the eradication of world hunger.
Food security and improved nutrition is one of the many goals outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals, recently adopted by the international community. However, prospects are looking grim for certain regions of the world, as found in the 2015 Global Food Security Update.
Countries at risk include Syria, where about 6.8 million people are in need of critical food assistance. Meanwhile, other conflict-ridden areas such as Iraq and Palestine are also facing deteriorating food security conditions due to high and volatile food prices and widespread displacement.
Among the Arab world, Morocco seems to be faring relatively well.
In the 2015 Food Security Index, which ranks countries on criteria on scores out of 100 (100 being the best), Morocco has an overall rating of 53.9. In the categories of proportion of population above the global poverty line, sufficiency of food supply and food loss, it scored 85.1, 84.6, and 81.5 respectively. However, areas that need improvement include GDP per capita and public expenditure on agriculture.
While these numbers bode well, Morocco has a high dependence on imported foods, making it vulnerable to rising prices and disruptions in the physical supply of food. Though food security does not require food self-sufficiency, it is important for Morocco to continue reviewing its agricultural policies, its imports and its emergency food reserve strategies, wrote Hafez Ghanem for a Brookings Institute report earlier this year.