Food security now a global problem

Published 14.06.2019 20:32
Updated 15.06.2019 00:19

While the world's population is rapidly advancing and expected to reach 10 billion people by 2050, it is impossible to meet this upcoming colossal demand for agricultural products and food and to feed a world population at this level with the existing production methods. It is necessary to go beyond traditional or conventional methods of agricultural production that are used in most parts of the world. More importantly, although new technologies will be introduced in production, it is equally important to prevent waste in the agricultural sector and to change consumer preferences and behavior to achieve sustainability in agriculture and food production.

Issues like protecting and improving existing arable land, methods of planting, inefficient harvesting processes that lead to large losses, wasteful packaging, proper storage and effective transportation all require new techniques and new approaches. Raising consumer awareness and making food products safe for consumers are also vitally important. Regarding International Food Safety Day on June 7, data disclosed by the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that more than 400,000 people around the world die every year due to consumption of spoiled food.

According to the data in WHO's report, on a global scale approximately, one in 10 people get sick at least once a year from unknowingly, though sometimes knowingly, consuming spoiled or contaminated food, or food that was exposed to bacteria, viruses, parasites or harmful chemicals. The report points out that, for the sake of food security, 1 euro from each country to raise awareness for its citizens would produce 10 euros of productivity by preventing disruption of work life.

The report highlights that the global magnitude of the production or economic loss due to food poisoning or similar causes in countries where the income is at low or medium levels is annually $95 billion. Even in Europe, where the average standard of living is relatively high, an average of 23 million people get sick and 5,000 die every year due to unhealthy food consumption. WHO states that the data in the report is only the tip of the iceberg and that the number of people who have been ill or have died from food spoilage or poisoning may be even more grave. Turkey should mobilize its potential and capabilities in agriculture and food production for the future.

Central bank and the global scene

In the shadow of trade wars and the environment of uncertainty stemming from tension in the global political economy, the world's leading central banks are trying to establish a monetary policy course for themselves. It will not be easy to create a set of monetary policies addressing price stability without causing unnecessary volatility in the value of the country's national currency, slowing the country's economic growth or increasing unemployment. Before the U.S. Federal Reserve's meeting on June 18-19, a new interest rate hike not expected considering the current effect of the ongoing trade wars.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell's statement that the Fed's policy stance is appropriate and that they do not see a serious need for downward or upward movement in monetary policy interest contributed to the appreciation of the currencies of many developed and developing economies against the dollar. The euro-dollar exchange rate even saw 1.13 at closing last Friday and started the new week again above $1.13. At this point, the European Central Bank's (ECB) two critical meetings on June 27 and July 25 and President Mario Draghi's messages are also highly anticipated globally.

The real sector in Europe and the eurozone are more pessimistic than what the general picture the macroeconomic indicators point out in the financial sector and household economies, and the inflation data does not indicate an increasing trend. Therefore, it does not seem to be easy for the ECB to take steps to tighten monetary policy. All of the world's leading central banks, because of the consequences of the trade wars that have complicated global trade and in an effort to avoid any consequences that could negatively impact the competitiveness of the country, are trying to avoid any steps that could lead to the appreciation of the country's currency.

The current global picture has given the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey maneuverability to send strong messages and to showcase its firm stance for the June 12 and July 24 meetings in order to accelerate the improvement in inflation expectations in the next 12 months and 24 months and to accelerate the decline in annual inflation, which will, in turn, disrupt the stickiness of the annualized headline inflation. As a matter of fact, the Monetary Policy Committee showed this stance on June 12. In September, we will be discussing a much more positive scenario on inflation and interest rate levels.

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