Food Security

Russian Wheat Value Chain and Global Food Security

There has obviously been much talk in the news around Russia’s power. From an economic point of view, much of Russia’s power is associated with oil and gas. Russia is also currently the top wheat exporter in the world and trade relations contribute to food security among other countries, especially import-dependent regions in the Middle East and North Africa. This has led to some public spats. The Duke team has outlined the catalysts that have the potential of disrupting Russia’s wheat value chain internally and at a global level and what Russia needs to do about this from a policy perspective.

Syria Wheat Value Chain and Food Security

Wheat has traditionally been a major driver of the Syrian economy. The country has maintained wheat self-sufficiency since 1994, though recent droughts have reduced yields significantly. Additionally, the 2013 civil war created disruptions that cut the country’s projected harvest in half, making it the worst harvest in over 30 years and posing a serious threat to the country’s immediate food security. The escalating food crisis can be intractable unless innovative solutions are developed that address current value chain challenges. This research brief discusses the wheat value chain in Syria and points of disruptions in the chain leading to acute food insecurity in the nation.

Subsidized food is a hallmark of food systems in MENA. Many citizens depend on government supported food for their livelihood. Consequently, volatility in global production and prices have significant implications for social unrest in the region. A Duke GVC Center research team has been investigating this topic using the GVC framework to map the role of various public and private actors at the global, regional, and country level, as well as identifying major bottlenecks to wheat flows in the region and potential policy interventions. Researcher Ghada Ahmed presented some of the findings at the MINERVA Annual Meeting on September 15, 2016 in Washington, DC.

Moroccan Food Security and the Wheat Value Chain

Morocco’s high dependence on food imports exposes it to international price volatility which puts its food security at risk. This brief examines food security challenges in Morocco, policy responses, the wheat value chain, and the potential for disruptions in the chain, and suggests several policy action areas to address these challenges.

Comparing Egypt and Saudi Arabia’s Wheat GVC

Wheat is one of the most important commodities in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and the region is the largest importer of wheat and other grains. While there are many challenges in terms of securing stable wheat supplies, like storage capacity and water reserves, sub-regional differences exist in the organization of the wheat industry and subsequent challenges. This brief sheds light on these differences through a comparison of Egyptian and Saudi Arabian wheat value chains. We conclude that while many issues, such as availability of currency reserves, span the region, other issues are country or sub-region specific.

Ghada, Dayne, and Gary presented “Shifting Governance Structures in the Wheat Value Chain: Implications for Food Security in MENA” at the GVCs and Trade Policies for Food and Nutrition Security workshop at Roma Tre University in Rome, Italy on September 26, 2014.

Global Value Chain Analysis and Food Security

Current food security paradigms often examine food availability in a manner that focuses exclusively on global factors or local institutional arrangements without critically examining the links between the two. The Global Value Chain (GVC) framework allows for a holistic approach to studies of food security by allowing researchers to examine commodities through production, distribution, and retailing activities. The approach demonstrates not only the importance of firms and other actors involved in commodity lifecycles, but also investigates the various governance structures that impact trade and food systems. This brief compares the GVC approach to understanding food security with more traditional approaches and identifies how GVC analysis allows researchers to identify and investigate important food security challenges facing MENA, particularly the issues of governance and international trade.

Wheat Value Chains and Food Security in the Middle East and North Africa Region

This report focuses on the wheat global value chain in the energy-exporting countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, with particular emphasis on Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the UAE. This is part of a multi-year research project funded by a grant to Duke from the US Department of Defense’s MINERVA Initiative.

Ghada Ahmed gave a presentation at the Seminar on Linking Food Security to Sustainable Agricultural Policies in the Mediterranean at the International Affairs Institute (IAI) Expo in Milan on June 20, 2015. View an interview on YouTube

Ghada Ahmed and Danny Hamrick gave a presentation at the Policy Studies Organization and Digest of Middle East Studies event entitled “2015 Middle East Dialogue: Glorious Past, Uncertain Future” in Washington, DC on February 26, 2015. Food Security and Water Policy session at Middle East Dialogue 2015. Chair: Whitney Shepard, Policy Studies Organization; Water and War in the Modern Age: the Enduring Hydro-Politics of The Nile, Justin D. Leach, Troy University; Food Security and the Wheat Value Chain in the Middle East and North Africa, A panel with Ghada Ahmed and Danny Hamrick of Duke University (View YouTube video)

U.S.-Based Food and Agricultural Value Chains and Their Relevance to Healthy Diets

This article examines the structure and health implications of two industries, chicken and tomatoes, that play prominent roles in US food and agricultural competitiveness. Both industries have become more concentrated over time, with powerful “lead firms” driving geographical, technological, and marketing changes. Overall, a processed food revolution has taken place in agricultural products that transforms the types of food and dietary options available to consumers. The nature of contemporary food and agricultural value chains affects the strategies and policies that can be effectively employed to address major health goals such as improved nutrition, food safety, and food security.