Opinion – Escalating geopolitical and geoeconomic threats to food security

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Josef Kefas Sheehama

In current geopolitical and geoeconomic discourse, hunger is seen as a threat to be contained, leading to an often severe social and spatial localization of food insecurity.

Indonesia will ban exports of cooking oil and its raw materials to reduce domestic shortages and limit soaring prices, according to President Joko Widodo.

Indonesia has issued a policy requiring all palm oil exporters to ensure that sufficient supplies are available domestically and that costs do not keep up with the sharp rise in international prices.

The world could run out of food if countries ban export. Rising geopolitical and geoeconomic tensions are the most pressing risk facing the world in 2022, while deteriorating international relations hamper the collective will to tackle these issues.

Escalating geopolitical tensions between Russia and Ukraine threaten global supply chain security.

It is also increasingly likely that these attacks will shift from mostly unsophisticated and temporarily disruptive to sophisticated and destructive as part of a broader hybrid warfare strategy against Ukraine by Russia. War has a direct and indirect effect on food security, undermining it through various channels.

Furthermore, conflicts deteriorate the environment for the utilization of food.

The political and economic spillover of conflicts beyond its geographical borders is also an important indirect effect, manifesting itself in the deterioration of regional investment climates and the crowding out of pro-growth policy priorities that would otherwise receive more support. Warning.

The pressure on Namibia’s food supply will require substantial investments to ensure food security, as Namibia is dependent on the importation of produce.

Investments must simultaneously increase the productivity and incomes of smallholder farmers; diversifying farmers’ incomes through value chain development and creating more and better jobs for the rural poor.

Agriculture plays a critical role in transforming economies to achieve the goal, as well as in achieving other critical development goals such as food security and improved nutrition.

Therefore, to eradicate hunger and undernutrition while accelerating economic growth, agricultural transformation must become a reality – from traditional techniques to modern technologies, and from agriculture to industry and manufacturing – and then to an economy. high-income services. For this process to succeed, the agricultural sector must be modernized.

Therefore, governments must prepare the conditions, including irrigation and improved market infrastructure, for farmers to access these inputs and sell their agricultural products.

Namibia will also need to build human capital to ensure a skilled workforce to master new technologies, manage logistics and energize every node of the value chain. Thorough research into the causes of food insecurity, followed by significant investment in modern commercial farming techniques, is the only way to overcome food insecurity. Investing in agricultural inputs based on research is the only key that can successfully contribute to the fight against food insecurity, hunger and poverty in Namibia.

There is much to learn from the country’s commercial farmers when it comes to applying modern agricultural techniques and technologies for food security purposes. Most emerging farmers still rely on traditional farming practices, which are unsustainable.

There is a need to improve agricultural production in the smallholder sector by facilitating improved agriculture – technology, research and providing the necessary financial and material support to communal farmers.

Rising geopolitical and geoeconomic tensions are the most pressing risk in 2022, and they expect a new economic confrontation between the great powers in 2022/2023.

The world’s ability to foster collective action in the face of urgent major crises has reached crisis levels, with deteriorating international relations hampering action in the face of a growing range of serious challenges.

Meanwhile, the darkening economic outlook, partly caused by geopolitical tensions, appears to further reduce the potential for international cooperation in 2022/2023.

With global trade and economic growth under threat in 2022, it is more urgent than ever to renew the architecture of international cooperation.

What countries need now is coordinated and concerted action to sustain growth and address the serious threats facing our world today.

We now live in a global village where the supply chain has become globalized and fragmented.

Namibia needs to leverage technology standardization to unite more partners across the global supply chain.

Most of the gains from agricultural trade liberalization are associated with domestic reforms rather than changes in trade policy. Improving agricultural trade can lead to faster and more sustainable growth, reducing poverty along the way.

However, trade liberalization can have potentially negative consequences on food security, generally linked to the risk of price instability, resulting from market variability, export bans, the potential increase in private stocks and financial speculation.

Furthermore, it cannot be said whether price volatility would increase in the context of open markets, as it would depend on the combined effect of these different forces. The challenge in the agricultural sector is how to realize the gains of liberalization through macroeconomic reforms that allow international prices to be more stable and passed on to local farmers, thereby increasing their productivity.

Today, sanctions can be applied in a more targeted way and can cause far greater damage than ever before. At the same time, the incentives for economic cooperation are stronger. Given the range of circumstances that different countries face, it is important that trade rules incorporate sufficient flexibility to allow countries to use the policy tools at their disposal in a way that maximizes the benefits of greater greater food self-sufficiency while minimizing the risks associated with trade restriction and overreliance on trade.

To do this, we will structure our thoughts specifically.

Then, we will detail the different frames present in the world according to the chosen angle and their different actions and outcomes.

We will try to sort out the opportunities from the situation and give, where appropriate, concrete solutions and strategies that can improve the current situation in Namibia.

2022-05-06 Staff reporter

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