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International Conference on Food Security in the Arab Countries:
New Challenges and Opportunities in the Context of Price Volatility



All Arab countries rely heavily on world markets to meet their food needs. The experience of this year and last year was quite dramatic for many Arab countries as food import prices quadrupled for some commodities and domestic inflation reached double digit rates. At the macro level the effect was reflected in huge food trade deficits and a jump in budget expenditure on food subsidies. At the micro level, the purchasing power of low income populations was significantly affected and the proportion of persons below the poverty line increased.

Countries mitigated these negative effects by adjusting their trade policies, mainly by reducing tariff rates, increasing export duties and controlling the prices of staple foods. However, trade policies, along with domestic policies addressing the domestic supply chains of food, are needed to respond to the long term food security challenge facing Arab countries.

Countries which are constrained by limited agricultural resources (GCC) have also responded to the recent food crisis by seeking solutions to food security issues through investment in agricultural production in land-abundant countries within the Arab region and elsewhere. The complementarities between land abundant and capital abundant countries in the Arab region are potentially capable of ensuring regional food security but require the revitalization of regional trade agreements to overcome intra-trade and investment barriers that have hindered cooperation in the past.

In addition, regional food security is affected by global food security and Arab countries have a stake in playing a major role in reforming the world food trading system toward a system driven by efficient international markets but in which food security is at the heart of its agenda.

The objective of this conference is to bring together researchers, experts, policy makers and other practitioners from the Arab region and the world to present and discuss food security in its domestic and international dimensions and in the light of the recent global food crisis. The organizing committee welcomes conceptual and empirical research papers as well as case studies on food policies of particular Arab countries to alleviate the effects of the global price surge.

We particularly encourage submissions that highlight the following topics:

1. Global food price drivers and future trends

2. The new food price environment and implications for trade

3. The role of local production systems in ensuring food security

4. Poverty analysis, impact assessment and nutrition

5. Qualitative and quantitative assessment of national food policies in the Arab region

6. Supply chain management and strategic food reserves

7. Macroeconomic policies, food inflation and the exchange rate factor (particularly for GCC countries)

8. Agriculture and food security and the Doha development agenda

9. Food consumption patterns in the Arab region

10. Strategies for reducing food losses

11. Strategies to overcome water scarcity in the Arab region

12. The virtual water hypothesis and international trade.



Please click to download the Preliminary Conference Program (as PDF file).



To download the English or Arabic version Full Brochure (as PDF file), please click English or Arabic.



An abstract of 300 words must be submitted via E-mail no later than October 15th 2009. E mails should be addressed to Dr. Houcine Boughanmi at The full paper in MS word format must be submitted no later than December 1st 2009. Selected papers presented at this Conference will be published in a special issue of a refereed scientific journal or an edited book.



Dr Houcine Boughanmi
Department of Natural Resource Economics
College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences
Sultan Qaboos University
PO Box 34, Al-Khod 123
Sultanate of Oman
Fax: + 968 2441 3418
Tel: + 968 2414 1243  (+ 968 2414 1244)



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