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									                    Regional Workshop
                             on
Agriculture-Related Issues in The Preparation for Accession
                       to The WTO

Countries in the Process of Accession to
     the WTO in the Near East: Major
       Agriculture and Food Security
                    Issues
                       Nasredin Hag Elamin

            FAO Regional Office for the Near East, Cairo
         Importance of Agriculture
   Agriculture employs the majority of the population in
    most of the countries (tab)

   Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for the
    rural people

   In some countries, the share of agriculture in total
    merchandise exports is very high

   Agricultural trade is highly concentrated in a few
    commodities
  (back)                  Importance of Agriculture
                         Share of                 Agric                                    Share of
                         agric in                 Population (%        Share of agric in   agric in total
                         GDP                      in total pop.)       total exports       Imports
                         2005-07                  2007                 2003-05             2003-05
  Afghanistan                    36.0                         66.3            30.0              51.1
  Algeria                         8.0                         23.5            0.2               15.7
  Iran                            9.7                         25.5            4.5               17.6
  Iraq                            na                           9.2            11.0               9.2
  Lebanon                         6.3                          3.3            10.7               4.8

  Libya                           5.6                          5.3            0.1                5.4
  Somalia                         6.3                         70.3            51.0              70.3
  Sudan                          32.7                         59.2            22.0              46.0
  Syria                          19.3                         27.1            19.0              23.2
  Yemen                          10.0                         48.4            2.4               29.2
Source: FAOSTAT, FAO; World Development Indicators, 2008, World Bank
          Food Security Status

 Number of undernourished is high in most of the
  countries
 Little progress has been achieved in meeting the
  MDG and WFS Targets

   More than 75% of the poor and undernourished
    reside in rural areas
   Undernourished Population, 1990-92, 2002-04
                         Total               Number of people                      Proportion of
                       population             undernourished                   undernourished in total
                        (million)                (million)                        population (%)
                        2001-03          1990–92            2002-2004         1990 - 92   2002-2004

   Algeria                 31.3              1.3                1.4              4.0          4.3
   Iran                    68.1              2.1                2.5              3.0          3.6
   Lebanon                  3.6              0.1                0.1              3.5          2.7
   Libya                    5.4              0.0                  *              0.0          —

   Sudan                   32.9              7.9                8.7              32          25.7
   Syria                   17.4              0.7                0.6              5             4

   Yemen                   19.3              4.2                7.6             34.0         38.2

Source: FAOSTAT, AFO; World Development Indicators CD-Rom, 2008, World Bank
Major Challenges Facing Agriculture
    Water scarcity
         Acute scarcity (< 500 m3 per capita ): Algeria, Libya, Yemen
         Stress (500 – 1000): Lebanon, Somalia, Syria
         Abundance (1700): Iraq, Iran, Sudan
         Global average (5000 m3 per capita)

    Coping with drought and natural disasters
         High dependence on rainfall
         Frequent incidence of droughts

    Low productivity per unit of land and water

    High dependence on food imports

    Loss of several export markets (cotton, dates, livestock, raisins)

    Compliance with the growing demand for high quality and standards in world
     markets
                       Food Imports
   The majority of these countries are net food
    importers with high and increasing dependence on
    food imports (tab)


   Nature of the problem:
    - Severe scarcity of irrigation water
    - Changing consumption pattern
    - High variability in rain fall, hence fluctuations in
       production of basic foods
  Cereals: percentage share of imports in
       total domestic consumption
(back)         1980-83   1990-93   2002 –05


Libya               81        91        90
Algeria            67        68         69
Yemen              48        72         84
Iran               28        26          19
Syria              27        28         28
Sudan               11        19        25
Lebanon            na        90         87
       Emphasis of Current Strategies:
         Priority Areas for Action
   Increasing water use efficiency
   Raising agricultural productivity per unit of land and water
    resources
   Diversification of production and trade into high value
    crops and processed products
   Enhancing competitiveness of farmers, processors and
    traders
   Improving market access conditions to foreign markets,
    particularly in Europe, the major market
   Safeguarding against import surges and unfair trade
    practices
   Raising self sufficiency (in some countries)
 What the WTO Accession Mean for
          these Countries?

Policy      - Rights
Framework   - Obligations



Outcome     - Potential gains
            - Potential risks
                        Risks
   Reduced policy space to design domestic priorities
    along existing strategies

   Some of the emerging and growing sectors/sub-
    sectors may prematurely be exposed to
    unnecessary, and possibly unfair, external
    competition
    Accession to WTO: Some Concerns
    Lack of clarity on expected benefits and costs (for agriculture)
     of joining the WTO – in the short and long terms
    Lack of, and difficulties in conducting, comprehensive and
     credible studies to assess impact of accession to the WTO on
     agriculture and rural development, trade and food security
    Preparing schedules of commitments in a way that serves the
     economic and social development in the country
    Securing flexibility through negotiations:
       Maintaining the necessary domestic policy flexibility
       Safeguarding the economy from world market hazards and
        unfair trade practices
    Access to developed country markets, particularly the EU

								
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