Hunger imminent in Arab countries

World grain shortage leads to fear of uprisings

GMT 12:07 2012 Wednesday ,15 August

Arab Today, arab today World grain shortage leads to fear of uprisings

Developments of recessing grain stocks and their impact on the market
Rabat – Rachid Bougha

Developments of recessing grain stocks and their impact on the market Rabat – Rachid Bougha A source in the Moroccan National Office for Grains and Cotton revealed the formation of a crisis management room to follow the developments of recessing grain stocks and their impact on the market and prices. Economic experts in the Arab Maghreb countries and in the world do not dismiss the likelihood of “hunger” tensions and protests due to rising prices of consumer products in the Arab Maghreb Region, i.e. Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, and Mauritania.
The Moroccan source told the Moroccan daily al-Masaa in their Wednesday edition that: “The current situation foretells an unprecedented crisis in Morocco, especially with the decreasing of stocks to their lowest level ever." The source also confirmed: “The available stocks will only cover less than three months of the nation's needs, which dictates the need for finding urgent solutions to this problem.”
The same source expanded, “The crisis management room formed by the National office for Grains is currently studying the alternative solutions to guarantee providing the local market with grains within the coming months in light of droughts hitting the US and Russia, both considered the major international market providers of grains.”
International economic experts think hunger tensions and protests are very likely in the Arab Maghreb region due to the high prices of consumer goods in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Mauritania.
Press reports mentioned Wednesday: “Experts and food specialists expect social tensions in countries like Egypt, Arab Maghreb and the coast due to the souring prices of nutrition goods and people’s inability in these regions to face the wave of high prices looming as a result of the increasing prices of main agricultural products by 6 percent in June and the merciless brokering in global stock markets”.
“The committee will work on sending delegates to France and Canada to seek commitment from the two countries to sell part of their wheat harvest to the National Office for Grains and Cottons, especially that the latter will launch an international tender in mid August for 300,000 tonnes of wheat.”
The International Bank had expressed concern over the increasing global food prices as a result of the climate change including the abnormal droughts sweeping the US in addition to the current conditions of the harvest in other grain-producing areas and their impact on the poor who remain the most badly harmed by the soaring prices of these basic products.
President of the Exchange for Agricultural Products in Vienna, Joseph Dietrich, stated: “Fears are rising concerning grain provisions all over the world.”
Countries like Egypt, Arab Maghreb, and African coast countries are among the main importers of grains due to high consumption. Parallel to this, there has been a recession in the global production for the largest producing countries including Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. The three countries, whose harvest was subject to damage due to the heat, represent one quarter of global grain exports.
The “Nino” tornado is also threatening Argentina’s grains, one of the main grain producers besides France which recorded an 8 percent leap in production compared to 2011 with over 36,000,000 tonnes of wheat.
Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane supported the pessimistic prediction: “Morocco is facing a hard economic crisis, but the financial situation is stable until the end of this year. The opposition is asking us to know the future and the future is known only by God.”


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