Inflation threatens food security in Middle East and North Africa

World Food Programme (WFP) is using integrated approaches which aim to address the root causes of food insecurity

Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is experiencing a deepening food security crisis due to the combination of high food inflation and collapsing currencies. This is affecting millions of people across the region, particularly those living in countries already facing conflict and instability.

Food prices are skyrocketing and many countries in the region are dealing with crippling budget deficits, high levels of public debt, currency devaluation and dangerous levels of inflation. 

Five countries in the region have seen food inflation going beyond 60 percent just this year with Lebanon and Syria facing triple-digit food inflation at 138 percent and 105 percent respectively. In Iran, Türkiye, and Egypt, annual food inflation is more than 61 percent, making it difficult for families to afford essential food items like bread, rice, and vegetables.  

As national food production cannot satisfy domestic needs, heavy reliance on imports has exposed the region to fluctuations in global food prices –exacerbated by the war in Ukraine – as well as to supply chain disruptions caused most recently by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

At the same time, food production in the MENA region is curtailed by both conflict and a deepening climate crisis. In Iraq and Syria, prolonged droughts and the effects of conflicts have reduced cultivated areas and cut food production. The region has been hit hard by the climate crisis, and is seeing prolonged droughts and heat waves, wildfires, flooding, erratic rainfall and landslides. 

Image credit- shutterstock

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