MidEast: conflicts threaten food security in all the region

The warning from FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva

11 May, 14:09

    (ANSAmed) - ISTANBUL, MAY 11 - As record-high food prices and the ongoing influx of Syrian refugees have become outstanding political issues before the upcoming elections in Turkey, United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General José Graziano da Silva has warned that escalating conflicts in the neighborhood have threatened food security in the entire Middle East. "A reliance on imports for staple food commodities poses its own problems, especially during rising or volatile international prices," Graziano said in an interview with Hurriyet Daily News on the sidelines of the G-20 Agriculture Ministers Meeting, which opened in Istanbul last Friday. "However, the main threat to food security in the region stems from the protracted and escalating conflicts - mainly in Syria, Iraq and Yemen - and the spill-over effect on neighboring countries," he added. In Turkey, where the number of Syrian refugees has approached two million, food inflation rose to 14% in April, as world prices saw five-year lows, according to the FAO. On April 27, Turkish Central Bank governor Erdem Basci said in a presentation to cabinet members that the hike in food prices limited improved inflation, warning that measures were needed to improve food supply. Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker, who represented Turkey at the G-20 ministerial meeting, ruled out any problems in farming output. The Turkish government has blamed middlemen, whom some have accused of stockpiling food products only to sell them after scarcity skyrockets prices.


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