Countries from Mediterranean region agree to cooperate to tackle food challenges

The Italian capital on Wednesday hosted the first-ever Mediterranean Ministerial Dialogue on the Food Security Crisis, which ended with an agreement between representatives of more than two-dozen countries to work together to combat rising costs for basic food products.

Government representatives hailed from the Mediterranean region, including those from Egypt, France, Greece, Spain, and host Italy.

The event was led by Italian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Marina Sereni, who said representatives — who participated in person and via video link — “focused on specific areas of intervention” and in collaboration with international organizations, including the Rome-based United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Food prices have been pushed higher in recent months by a combination of factors, including the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, supply chain issues, and lingering impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

The World Food Price Index, a measure of prices for a basket of basic food commodities, recorded its three highest-ever results over the last three months, including an all-time high set in March. The index has existed in its current form since 1990.

Qu Dongyu, FAO’s director-general, addressed the Ministerial Dialogue Wednesday, telling participants that the Ukraine crisis proved the need to bolster global food systems.

“We must keep our global food trade system open and ensure that agricultural food exports are not restricted or taxed,” he said. ■

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