Between Promising and Frustrating... Where did the food commodity trade in the Middle East reach?

Between Promising and Frustrating... Where did the food commodity trade in the Middle East reach?

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

After the World Bank reassured global concerns that the food price index will remain stable until the end of 2020, and that anxiety about supply chains has subsided, and the concomitant surge in commodity prices may accompany it, the Food and Agriculture Organization released a different report confirming that global food prices recorded their first rise in June in 2020, representing a slight recovery after sharp declines caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

The FAO, Food Price Index which measures the monthly changes in a basket of cereals, vegetable oils, dairy products, meat, and sugar, averaged 93.2 points last month, up 2.4 percent from May.

FAO said it has revised the basis for all of its indicators, changing the base period to 2014-2016. It was from 2002 to 2004. In light of the uncertainty in the markets, the prices of vegetable oils, sugar, and dairy products recovered to reach a multi-month high after sharp declines in May, but most of the prices of grains and meat continued to come under downward pressure.

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Food commodity prices between Lebanon and Iraq

Despite the widespread notion that consumers across the Middle East are largely immune to high global food prices thanks to government food support and other policies, the facts demonstrate that low global food prices rarely help lower domestic food prices and that Middle Eastern countries face financial pressures growing.

A report by the World Bank mentioned in the weekly bulletin of the Byblos Bank Group in Lebanon, that the prices of all food commodities included in its basket have increased during the period from February 14 to May 28, 2020.

The World Bank has calculated the change in food prices in 19 countries in the MENA region of Africa has five main categories of food: starches, dairy products, fruits, meat, and vegetables.

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On the other hand, despite global concerns about unstable countries, the average price of basic commodities in Iraq remained stable until June-June, while some governorates and some commodities witnessed a change in prices, as vegetable oil prices rose to about 1,800 Iraqi dinars per liter And the price of sugar increased by 10% in Sulaymaniyah and Kirkuk.


UAE and Saudi Arabia… tight plans

As for the United Arab Emirates, it took care to maintain food price stability, as the economy of the Emirate of Dubai launched a daily observatory to monitor the prices of basic food commodities and necessary products according to its minimum and maximum levels.

According to the observatory, it was found that the maximum price for fresh milk is 6 dirhams, vegetable oil with a capacity of 1.8 liters amounted to 23.5 dirhams, while the maximum amount of 400 g of beans was about 7 dirhams, and a kilo of wheat 12.5. As for fish prices, the range ranges from 55 to 98.9 dirhams, depending on the type required.

In the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the statistical report issued by the Statistics Center revealed that the weekly price index for food commodities during the fourth week of June saw an increase of 0.8% compared to last February, but this figure decreased by 2.1% compared to the week June 3rd.

The price of a liter of fresh milk in Abu Dhabi was 5.8 dirhams, and the price of milk ranged between 4.8 to 6.4 dirhams, and the price of fresh beans in Egypt reached about 17 dirhams, while the prices of fish varied according to the many types between 30-80 Dirhams.


E-commerce platforms are the solution

Thus, in light of the emergencies imposed by the outbreak of the emerging coronavirus, and the chaos in food prices in the Middle East, the Food and Agriculture Organization has called for a set of measures to build stronger and more resilient agricultural societies; Perhaps the most important one is to support e-commerce platforms for food and agriculture to help connect smallholder farmers to providers of inputs or outputs to achieve further progress.

The platform is considered one of the leading platforms in the field of agriculture and food, as it is committed to ensuring an effective link between importers and exporters of food in the world with the most cost-effective and easiest way.