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Food Security and Storage in the Middle East and North Africa

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  • Donald F. Larson
  • Julian Lampietti
  • Christophe Gouel
  • Carlo Cafiero
  • John Roberts

Abstract

In times of highly volatile commodity markets, governments often try to protect their populations from rapidly rising food prices, which can be particularly harmful for the poor. A potential solution for food-deficit countries is to hold strategic reserves that can be called on when international prices spike. But how large should strategic stockpiles be, and what rules should govern their release? In this paper, we develop a dynamic competitive storage model for wheat in the Middle East and North Africa region, where imported wheat is the most significant component of the average diet. We analyze a strategy that sets aside wheat stockpiles, which can be used to keep domestic prices below a targeted price. Our analysis shows that if the target price is set high and reserves are adequate, the strategy can be effective and robust. Contrary to most interventions, strategic storage policies are counter-cyclical, and when the importing region is sufficiently large, a regional policy can smooth global prices. Simulations indicate that this is the case for the Middle East and North Africa region. Nevertheless, the policy is more costly than a procyclical policy similar to food stamps that uses targeted transfers to directly offset high prices with a subsidy.

Suggested Citation

  • Donald F. Larson & Julian Lampietti & Christophe Gouel & Carlo Cafiero & John Roberts, 2014. "Food Security and Storage in the Middle East and North Africa," The World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 28(1), pages 48-73.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:28:y:2014:i:1:p:48-73.
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    14. Pierre, G. & Kaminsky, J., 2018. "Cross country maize market linkages in Africa: integration and price transmission across local and global markets," 2018 Conference, July 28-August 2, 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia 277126, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    15. Christophe Gouel & Madhur Gautam & Will J. Martin, 2016. "Managing food price volatility in a large open country: the case of wheat in India," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(3), pages 811-835.
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    23. Miranda, Mario J. & Farrin, Kathleen M. & Larson, Donald F. & Chen, Shu-Ling, 2013. "Differential Effects of Food Security Policies on Subsistence Farmers and the Urban Poor," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 149736, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
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    25. Dorosh, Paul A. & Thurlow, James & Pradesha, Angga & Raihan, Selim, 2020. "Evaluating Food Policy Options in Bangladesh: Economywide Analysis Under Uncertainty," 2020 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, Kansas City, Missouri 304635, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

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