Thought-provoking discussion at the ICARDA fireside chat for MENA Climate Week
Today during MENA Climate Week held in Dubai, ICARDA carried out an engaging and thought-provoking online ‘fireside chat’, hosted by ICARDA’s Climate Change Advisor Ms. Roula Majdalani alongside three co-speakers from the donor, development, and private sector.
ICARDA invited FAO Regional Programme Leader Mr. Jean-Marc Faures together with Ms. Laila Kenawy, National Programme Officer at the Embassy of Switzerland in Cairo, and Mr. Amr Elmohr, Quality and Food Safety Manager of Kellogg Tolaram Noodles in Egypt.
Over 100 members of the audience also participated in discussions focused on how to improve the resilience of MENA agrifood systems, providing inspiring insights and solutions.
As the most water-insecure region in the world, MENA countries are highly dependent on food imports to meet their populations’ nutritional needs, making them particularly vulnerable to global food commodity shocks.
While two years of pandemic have brought to light the vulnerability of global and regional food systems, the onset of the conflict in Ukraine in late February - which halted all grain exports from Ukraine and Russia - created a shockwave that hit Arab countries hard.
Amr Elmohr, from the private sector, explained that food manufacturers have struggled over the past couple of years to access wheat - a vital component of Kellogg Tolaram Noodles’ operation in Egypt.
With COP27 taking place in Sharm el-Sheik later this year, there is a growing momentum to push for more sustainability in most sectors - including agriculture. Laila Kenawy explained that dryland farmers can greatly benefit through low-cost innovations and farming packages, especially as climate change impacts yields. She was involved in a project in Minya which supported small landholders adopt low-tech greenhouses made of locally sourced material.
WATCH THE FULL DISCUSSION
Fixing global and regional food systems to ensure food security and price stability of food commodities is an extraordinary challenge we cannot afford to ignore. It is particularly urgent, according to our experts, to strengthen food systems in the Middle East and North Africa to maintain food security and political stability. ICARDA and its partners are fully involved in helping support this much-needed transition, for a peaceful, food-secure region.