Egyptian Pavilion at COP28 hosts session on food security in light of climate change

Asia | December 11, 2023 12:20:20 AM IST
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Dubai [UAE], December 10 (ANI/WAM): The Egyptian pavilion at COP28 hosted a session titled "Food Security in Light of Climate Change", focusing on agriculture, water, and food-related issues. The session served as the culmination of the thematic days observed throughout the conference.

Food and economics experts from Egyptian universities participated in a stimulating discussion on various topics related to maintaining food security amid climate change. They explored subjects such as the economic impact of climate change on food systems, importance of plant genetic resources in developing climate-resilient crops, role of nutrition in a climate-challenged world, and utilising neglected plants as new food sources in the face of climate change.

Dr. Abdelfattah Badr, Professor of Genetics and Biodiversity in Botany and Microbiology Department, Helwan University, emphasised Egypt's active engagement at COP28. He stressed the urgent need for practical solutions and a clear roadmap for adapting to the impacts of climate change.

He told Emirates News Agency (WAM) that Egypt, heavily impacted by climate change due to its significant food imports, requires realistic solutions to cultivate plants suited to the changing climate. He pointed out that utilising reclaimed lands to expand agricultural areas for non-traditional, salinity and drought-resistant crops is crucial. This can be achieved through collaborative studies between the ministries of environment and agriculture.

Dr. Mahmoud Abdelaziz Touny, an economics professor at Helwan University's Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration, highlighted how climate change significantly affects global food production. In Egypt, climate change has led to a 15 percent decrease in major agricultural crop production (e.g., wheat, rice, maize) due to rising sea levels, and a subsequent impact on global food prices.

El-Touny emphasised the significant rise in food prices in Egypt, citing a 76 per cent increase in 2023 compared to 2022. Speaking to WAM, he advocated for increasing local food production, and transitioning to renewable energy sources (solar, wind, green hydrogen).

He noted that Egypt is the world's largest wheat importer. He predicted a substantial rise in the Egyptian food bill, expecting a 50-60 per cent increase in global food prices over the next five years.

Dr Amira Darwish, a Food Science professor at the University of Borg Al Arab's Faculty of Industrial and Energy Technology, stressed the need for comprehensive food security strategies. She proposed innovative ideas for "future foods", including, substituting animal protein with low-carbon footprint alternatives, and reducing land and water usage. (ANI/WAM)