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The global food crisis is increasing and humanity must act to solve it

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The global food crisis is increasing and humanity must act to solve it


The global food crisis is increasing and humanity must act to solve it


Dr. Safi Metwally, Vice President of the Desert Research Center:

  • The world is facing a serious food crisis that has not occurred since the World War

  • I call on leaders to stop wars and negotiate to resolve conflicts

  • Countries must produce food on their own and face climate change

  • I advise people to rationalize spending and change current eating patterns



The world is currently facing a major food crisis that has not occurred since the sixties or seventies of the last century, as the global food index jumped to its highest levels ever in April 2022, and global prices of food commodities recorded their highest levels ever, and the report of the World Food Program revealed that acute food insecurity will reach New highs.
Alitihd website monitored the problem, its causes, results and ways to confront it through this dialogue with the great Egyptian scientist Dr. Safi El-Din Metwally, Professor of Satellites and Information Systems and Vice President of the Desert Research Center.
He is an expert in exploration sciences, new and renewable energy and a sustainable development consultant, who has provided scientific and practical solutions to get out of the crisi.

 

It is worth noting that Ukraine and Russia produce 30% of the world’s needs of wheat, 20% of corn, and 75% to 80% of sunflower seed oil. Since the Russo-Ukrainian war, wheat prices have risen by 21%, barley by 33% and some fertilizers have increased by 40%. .


The World Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said that the global food price index rose from the level of 135 points to the level of 141 points, which is the highest level since the global food crisis that occurred since 2006, and this confirms the continuation of the crisis until 2024.


The reality of the current situation

 

At first, Dr. Safi Metwally revealed the reality of the current situation, saying:

The World Bank report indicated that the world will enter a phase of a global food crisis that has not occurred since the seventies or sixties of the last century, and stressed that in all the food crises that faced the world before, they were caused by a single factor directly causing it, but the current crisis occurred as a result of several factors.


He revealed that the world is facing without realizing two main factors of the crisis, and people used to believe that the crisis occurs as a result of problems in ports, as in Ukraine and Russia, with regard to, for example, wheat, as it is the main source of food in Africa and elsewhere in the world, but the crisis at that time was not representative. A big problem with wheat in Europe, so Europe was not interested in it happening.


But these days, due to the Russian-Ukrainian war, the food crisis in Europe has become another dimension, because the cultivation of food crops depends mainly on the manufacture of fertilizers, and agricultural requirements, and it is known that the fertilizer industries worldwide depend on natural gas as a source of energy needed to operate production plants.


Before, Europe did not suffer from any problem in the provision of natural gas, and therefore it did not suffer from a problem in agriculture and was not affected much by the food crises that were occurring in the past, especially with the nature of the country in the excellent natural rainfall rates, but now Europe and even the United States are suffering America will suffer from a food crisis due to the issue of gas shortages.


This gas is exported from Russia, Ukraine and from the Middle East countries to the European Union, but due to the conditions of the war and the current conflict between Russia and the West, the element of gas shortage has become an active factor in the current global food crisis in light of the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian war, which negatively affects the ports and the Harvesting, storage and transportation.


Thus, the problem is no longer related to wheat, despite its importance, but has spread to other strategic food crops, the most important of which is the sunflower crop and oil crops, which provided part of southern France to supply Northwest Africa represented in Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco with edible oil.


France is now unable to fill this gap due to its inability to provide the necessary fertilizers for its sprawling sunflower farms due to the decrease in the amount of gas imported to it from Russia due to the war, which is necessary to operate the factories that produce fertilizers, agricultural requirements and food production.


International measures required to contain the crisis


The deputy director of the Egyptian Desert Research Center explained that in the coming period, governments in all countries of the world are expected to have national food projects, even if they witnessed a crisis at the beginning, and to be in small reclamation areas or complete dependence of these countries on their own resources until the crisis that passes expected to last.


He stressed that countries that will not have stages of providing food even partially for their people through local production and supplementing the rest by importing through a sound economic plan will suffer greatly in the future because the food crisis in the world will continue gradually and will exceed the crisis of the seventies and sixties.


On the measures that countries and international institutions are now taking to ensure the sustainability of food in the coming period, he said that it is necessary to control the three main factors causing the crisis, the first of which is the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, by putting it on the negotiating table.


Secondly, that each country quickly and as much as possible produces its own staple food through national projects on its territory and does not resort to importing except for the utmost necessity and in food commodities and crops that cannot be produced or grown locally according to the climatic conditions in each country.


Another important issue is the existence of a solution to the problem of climate change. It is worth mentioning that Egypt is implementing 3 national projects at a cost of one billion and 20 million pounds to reduce the impact of climate change on food crops. These projects are funded by the European Union and are very important because they target 6 types of strategic crops, primarily wheat. and oil crops.


He added that these national projects will include all crops that are imported from abroad in hard currency in order to fill the gap in their production locally, in addition to 4 types of crops that Egypt aims to increase the amount of production, including dates, which Egypt is the largest country in the world in its production, but it lacks the industries necessary to increase the value of export To cover import costs for other crops you need.


It is very important in this regard to increase horizontal expansion, at least one million acres must be entered annually for reclamation projects, as well as vertical expansion through companies and research centers producing new varieties of strategic crops such as wheat and rice that have greater productivity and high quality specifications so as to allow wheat cultivation in areas Saline lands and thirst-tolerant rice.


Dr. Safi recommended that there be a clear economic strategy in light of the president’s directives to the economic ministerial group to achieve both horizontal and vertical expansion, and added that all peoples, especially in the Arab world, should know that the food crisis is global and we must change the citizen’s culture regarding consumption patterns.


He stressed that while we are achieving this awareness, some imported goods can be dispensed with if they cost the state a lot of dollars and replaced with others available locally.



The Deputy Director of the Desert Research Center explained that the global food crisis now does not differentiate between rich and poor countries, for example, Britain, which has the largest economy in Europe, which occupies advanced positions in the global economy, in which more than 1.5 million suffer from a crisis in achieving their own food security. Up to two million children suffer from a food crisis.



He said: We are facing a real shock not only in the lack of water, and not only in the Russian-Ukrainian war, but also as a result of climate change that will greatly affect food quality and production in Europe with the gas crisis that will also affect a lot and therefore the negative impact will be great on all countries Especially in Africa and the Middle East.


Egyptian vision and prior solutions


Dr. Safi Metwally spoke about the Egyptian efforts to confront the global food crisis, pointing out that President Sisi held several meetings with the Ministerial Economic Group to follow up procedures for dealing with the repercussions of the global economic crisis, in addition to the presence of a crisis group in the Egyptian government that meets periodically to confront this crisis and its repercussions on the economy.



He explained that Egypt has enough food stocks at least for the end of this year and with the beginning of next year, by God’s command, the harvested quantities of the crop from the new reclamation areas in Toshka, Sinai and the new delta will cover a significant part of the Egyptian market’s needs of strategic crops.



He said that the vision that was implemented from 2018 on some agricultural and industrial cluster sites located in Sinai with studies of strategic food farms when Egypt was establishing them at the suggestion of President Sisi, regardless of the high cost of reclaiming the feddan, has become very important, so this trend must be continued.



In this regard, he thanked President Sisi and the ministers of the Economic Group for the prior reading of events and for Egypt’s start of land reclamation and horizontal expansion at the beginning of 2015 and before the three current crises that no one in the world expected to occur simultaneously, namely the Corona crisis, climate change and the Russian-Ukrainian war .




He said the citizen should also assume his responsibilities by changing the patterns of food and consumption in general through rationalization and reducing, for example, the consumption of animal protein. In this regard, he referred to Egypt's success in achieving self-sufficiency in fish after the spread of fish farms in many areas of Egypt, as well as the "Veal" project. In which Egypt cut a large roast, reaching one million heads, and also achieving self-sufficiency in white meat.



He referred to the efforts of the Ministry of Agriculture under the directives of the political leadership and through its research centers such as the Agricultural Research Center and the Desert Research Center to achieve vertical expansion in agricultural production operations by developing the seed system by producing seeds with high productivity and producing rice varieties that consume no more than 32% of the water consumption of other varieties. .


There are currently experiments to produce wheat that can withstand 12 thousand parts per million salinity, the introduction of technology in farming operations and the use of protected crops, and the boom that occurred in the last three years, represented in organic agriculture in Egypt, which needed legislation approved during the era of President Sisi and contract farming that gives safety For farms in cooperation with the Ministries of Agriculture and Supply. 

 

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