Food Shortages in Syria, United Arab Emirates

Syria starts importing wheat, a staple of the country's export economy; UAE's rice reserves to deplete in ten days.

wheat field 88 224 (photo credit: Courtesy photo)
wheat field 88 224
(photo credit: Courtesy photo)
This year's wheat harvest in Syria will be the lowest in nearly two decades, the Syrian business newsletter The Syria Report reported. According to the newsletter, the news could not have come at a worse time for the Syrian government: Instead of being able to export wheat and enjoy the current high prices on the world market, the government will now have to import wheat, adding an extra burden to the country's economy. Over the past few years Syria has earned some $200 million from wheat export. The consequences of the poor harvest will not only be economic, since nearly half of Syria's population lives in rural areas and increased migration from the countryside to the cities is expected. Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is considering investing in farmland in Egypt in order to secure strategic food resources, according to the Abu Dhabi newspaper The National. The Egyptian Minister of Foreign Trade and Industry, Rashid Mohammed Rashid, confirmed that talks were underway and that he would travel to the UAE later this week to continue the talks. Subjects being discussed range from farmland investment and development to setting up infrastructure for agribusiness, and food processing. A clear example of the need for the UAE to look for new ways the secure its food supplies is that the stock of non-basmati rice in the UAE will be depleted within 10 days, the Dubai-based newspaper GulfNews reported. The problem stems from an export ban by India in March because of rising inflation, causing a wave of panic buying, trebling the benchmark Thai prices in the process.