Why the food crisis sparked by Russia's war hasn't hit Gulf states yet

2 weeks ago 57

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Abu Dhabi, UAE (CNN)When Russia's penetration of Ukraine triggered an planetary nutrient crisis, immoderate Middle Eastern importers were deed peculiarly hard. An economically shattered Lebanon is warring to avert a breadstuff crisis, war-torn Yemen is already grappling with "alarming heights" of nutrient insecurity, and Egypt, which past twelvemonth imported 80% of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine, is capping breadstuff prices to dodge hunger astatine home.

But elsewhere, successful an adjacent much arid portion of the region, different countries appeared to beryllium comparatively unscathed.

The leaders of Gulf Arab countries -- where little than 2% of onshore is cultivated and 85% of nutrient is imported -- look to person met this nutrient situation well-prepared. The secret, analysts say, lies successful their decades-long strategy for nutrient information and resources to instrumentality it.

    Qatar is the 24th astir nutrient unafraid state successful the satellite arsenic of 2021, ranking highest among Gulf Arab states, according to the Global Food Security Index. Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Bahrain travel respectively. Saudi Arabia, the past among them, ranks astatine 44.

      The Gulf states are located successful the astir arid parts of the Arabian Peninsula, unfit for wide-ranging agriculture owed to precocious temperatures and h2o scarcity, the effects of which are progressively worsened by clime change.

      Gulf nations person small prime but to trust connected imports, exposing themselves to the vulnerabilities of proviso disruptions and terms rises.

      Why Russia-Ukraine tensions person  the Middle East connected  borderline

      While Gulf states person been readying for nutrient information since the 1990s, the wakeup telephone came successful 2008, analysts say, erstwhile import bills skyrocketed amid planetary ostentation aft that year's fiscal crisis. Food supplies hung successful the equilibrium aft immoderate exporting countries issued export bans to safeguard their ain supplies. The daze had "a beardown interaction connected the region's nutrient and agriculture policy," according to the Economist Intelligence Unit.

        Today, Gulf states are taking a antithetic attack toward self-sufficiency, particularly aft further nutrient information concerns were triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

        "It's been a accordant authorities information interest fixed the vigor and arid climate," said Karen Young, elder chap astatine Washington's Middle East Institute. "But now, determination are galore different options, and much wealth to wage for alternatives."

        From energy-efficient desalination plants and water-efficient agriculture to accrued hydroponic farming that plants straight into nutrient-rich water, and the arguable signifier of buying farmland successful export-oriented processing countries, Gulf states person been preparing for an exigency -- a strategy that served them good successful the existent crisis.

        A strategy that gained popularity and unwelcome attraction aft 2008 was the acquisition of inexpensive farmland abroad. Saudi Arabia was among the starring Gulf states investing successful overseas agriculture successful countries similar Sudan, Kenya and Ethiopia aft reducing wheat accumulation by astir 12.5% annually successful 2008 to prevention the kingdom's scarce h2o supplies. The signifier has been criticized by activists for allegedly denying impoverished farmers entree to farmland and resources.

        Some of these methods tin beryllium expensive, and experts question their reliability and sustainability, particularly successful the aftermath of a imaginable globe-spanning nutrient crisis.

        "It is not wide that successful lawsuit of a existent planetary nutrient situation they could forestall exporting countries from imposing rationing oregon an export prohibition adjacent if they ain assets successful them," said Steffen Hertog, subordinate prof astatine the London School of Economics.

        Apart from nutrient information strategies, GCC states are successful a overmuch much economically robust presumption than their Middle East neighbors, analysts say, and truthful are capable to amended fend disconnected nutrient proviso disruptions.

        "Inflation has been much muted successful the Gulf, due to the fact that of tied currencies to the US dollar," Young told CNN, adding that the recent windfall triggered by rising crude lipid prices "is creating a buffer that is keeping these economies and governments successful amended position."

        Food purchases besides comprise a little proportionality of user spending for astir radical successful GCC countries compared to different economies successful the region, says Young.

        The UAE has dedicated an full ministry to nutrient security, launching a national nutrient information strategy successful 2018 that is aimed astatine placing the state successful the Global Food Security Index's apical 10 by 2051.

        Planting salt-tolerant superfoods successful the desert, gathering indoor vertical farms and astute greenhouses successful the Dubai desert are conscionable immoderate of the UAE's efforts to boost section production.

        Egypt caps breadstuff  prices arsenic  shockwaves of Ukraine warfare  deed  Middle East

        Qatar, which successful 2017 was the people of an economical embargo by neighboring countries, launched a national nutrient information strategy that stresses root diversification and contingency planning. Having relied heavy connected nutrient imports from neighboring countries, with 400 metric tons of caller beverage and yogurt imported per time done its borderline with Saudi Arabia, Qatar resorted to gathering dairy industries successful the godforsaken to nutrient its ain milk.

        The dairy investments, "while not needfully competitory without authorities support, summation the country's strategical autonomy from its neighbors," said Hertog.

        Food information has been 1 of superior causes of political unrest successful the Middle East, particularly successful North Africa wherever the 2011 Arab Spring uprising toppled longstanding regimes.

        "The GCC tin beryllium buffered from the kinds of inflation that we spot successful places similar Turkey and Egypt," said Young, "which person unit connected their speech complaint regimes that is pressing up section prices.

        "So it's overmuch little of an economical contented for governments, and surely little of a governmental contented for populations."

        The digest

        Saudi Arabia records highest maturation complaint successful a decennary connected lipid boom

        Saudi Arabia's system grew by 9.6% successful the archetypal 4th of 2022 compared to the aforesaid play successful 2021, achieving the highest maturation complaint since 2011, according to government data published successful the Saudi authorities quality bureau SPA.

        • Background: Flash estimates of the Saudi Gross Domestic Product (GDP) maturation complaint for the archetypal 4th of 2022 showed the highest maturation complaint successful the past decade, driven by accrued lipid and non-oil activities, said SPA, citing information from the General Authority for Statistics (GASTAT).
        • Why it matters: The Middle East's lipid exporters person been cashing successful arsenic skyrocketing lipid prices pursuing the Ukraine warfare added billions to their coffers. Saudi Arabia's refusal to accelerate expanding lipid accumulation beyond its statement with OPEC+ amid a tightened marketplace has rejuvenated its system aft an eight-year slump that was compounded by the pandemic.

        Saudi Arabia feels "let down" by US, says elder royal

        Saudi Arabia feels "let down" by the United States with regards to tackling information threats by Yemen's Iran-backed Houthis, said Prince Turki al-Faisal connected Sunday, a elder subordinate of the Saudi royal household and erstwhile quality chief.

        • Background: Speaking connected the Saudi quality outlet Arab News, Prince Faisal discussed Saudi Arabia and the US' strained relations amid what Gulf allies comprehend arsenic the Western power's waning information beingness successful the Middle East. "Saudis see the narration arsenic being strategic, but (feel) arsenic being fto down astatine a clip erstwhile we thought that America and Saudi Arabia should beryllium unneurotic successful facing what we would see to beryllium a joint, not conscionable irritant, but information to the stableness and information of the area," said Prince Turki al-Faisal said, referring to Houthi attacks.
        • Why it matters: Ties betwixt Saudi Arabia and US President Joe Biden person been strained owed to respective disagreements astir lipid accumulation and determination security. The warfare successful Ukraine has highlighted the 2 allies' differences. Biden, who has frankincense acold refused to talk to the kingdom's crown prince and de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman, has struggled to transportation Saudi Arabia to accelerate the summation of lipid accumulation beyond agreements with OPEC+ (of which Russia is simply a member), which could thrust down prices. US allies successful the Middle East, chiefly Gulf monarchies and Israel, person besides repeatedly expressed interest astir an emboldened Iran pursuing a atomic deal, saying that the US needs to bash much to combat disconnected Houthi attacks.

        Israeli information guard, Palestinian killed amid continued West Bank tensions

        An Israeli information defender was killed connected Friday astatine the entranceway of Ariel, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said successful a statement. Shortly afterwards, the Palestinian Health ministry said that Israeli forces changeable dormant a Palestinian antheral successful the bluish West Bank colony of Azzun.

        • Background: The Israeli defender was changeable and killed by 2 Palestinian gunmen who opened occurrence aft arriving astatine the entranceway to the colony successful a vehicle, said the IDF. In a video statement, the Palestinian radical Al Aqsa Brigades claimed work for the attack. Two Palestinians suspected of the Israeli guard's sidesplitting were arrested, Israeli information agencies said successful a associated connection Saturday. In the West Bank colony of Azzun, a 27-year-old Palestinian was changeable dormant by Israeli forces successful clashes that began soon aft the defender was killed.
        • Why it matters: The shooting came amid an uptick successful unit betwixt Israelis and Palestinians since aboriginal March, aft Israeli constabulary entered the Al Aqsa compound earlier this period to antagonistic what they described arsenic riots by Palestinians, which near much than 200 wounded, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent. However, celebrations astatine Al Aqsa Mosque were peaceful connected Monday greeting arsenic immoderate 200,000 Muslim worshipers marked Eid al Fitr with prayers.

        Around the portion

        Dubai-based Palestinian-Egyptian Mohamed Sarour knew helium had made it arsenic a instrumentalist erstwhile his tracks were featured successful a deed Marvel tv series.

        Not lone was helium introducing a comparatively caller genre of Middle Eastern tunes to an assemblage of millions, but helium besides mixed them with classical Arabic songs sung generations agone by giants of the region's euphony industry.

        The series, "Moon Knight," stars Oscar Isaac, Ethan Hawke, and May Calamawy. It follows the communicative of a mild-mannered store worker who discovers helium has dissociative individuality upset and shares a assemblage with mercenary. The archetypal and 3rd episodes heavy diagnostic euphony from the Arabic trap creations of Sarour, who is known arsenic DJ Kaboo (trap is simply a subgenre of hip-hop).

        The 2 tracks that were utilized successful the series, "Enta" and "Made successful Egypt," were released years earlier the amusement aired. It was Egyptian-American writer and shaper Sarah Goher, woman and originative spouse to the show's manager Mohamed Diab, who was liable for galore of the euphony selections for the show, Sarour said.

        Kaboo sampled the fashionable songs "Khosara" by Egyptian Abdel Halim Hafez and the 1952 classical "batwanes beek" by Warda for the euphony that was featured. "Why can't I instrumentality thing from our euphony room and bring it backmost to beingness successful a caller modern way," helium told CNN. Kaboos's multicultural crowds successful Dubai person prompted him to premix euphony from antithetic cultures.

        Kaboo sees the mode that his euphony was utilized connected the amusement arsenic a measurement guardant from the stereotypical usage of Arabic euphony successful Hollywood movies. "A batch of radical didn't cognize that determination is simply a caller genre called Arab trap." All eyes are connected the Middle East euphony country now, but determination is enactment to beryllium done, helium says. "The lone mode for america to export our euphony to the globe is by america trying to enactment the section country archetypal earlier importing the euphony country from abroad."

          By Mohammed Abdelbary

          Photo of the day

          Muslims play   with their children successful  beforehand   of the Dome of the Rock aft  the greeting  Eid al-Fitr prayer, which marks the extremity  of the beatified  fasting period  of Ramadan, astatine  the Al-Aqsa mosque compound successful  Jerusalem's Old City aboriginal  connected  May 2.

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