Cereal markets and food security in the Mediterranean region:
The strategic importance of information sharing, early warning capacities and regional cooperation to face food crises and supply disruptions
Paris, November 30th and December 1st 2023
The Mediterranean Cereal Market Information Network (MED-Amin) gathered in Paris, France, its first Strategic Meeting, on November 30th and December 1st. During two days, experts and high-level country representatives discussed lessons learnt from recent crises affecting food supplies and trade, and potential improvements through Mediterranean cooperation.
Over the last 3 years, the Mediterranean region has gone through a succession of shocks and crises which disrupted food markets and threatened food security for populations at risk. In this context, the Mediterranean Cereal Market Information Network (MED-Amin), funded in 2014, organised its first Strategic Meeting in Paris on November 30th and December 1st, 2023.
High level representatives of Mediterranean countries met to reflect on transferable and joint solutions to better anticipate future crises, increase the resilience of their supply chains, provide early warning and facilitate rapid reaction.
In almost 10 years of existence MED-Amin has succeeded in building trust and sharing information across the Mediterranean region, with the continuous collaboration with key international organizations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (in particular the Agriculture Market Information System Secretariat, AMIS), the International Grain Council (IGC) and the European Commission, including its Joint Research Centre.
“MED-Amin is one of the most active of the CIHEAM networks” underlined Mr. Teodoro Miano, General Secretary of CIHEAM. MED-Amin strategic meeting offers a unique platform to exchange on food security and food supply issues in the Mediterranean region.
Early warning requires a solid base of reliable, near real time information. Ms. Frida Krifca, President of the CIHEAM Governing Board, invited all member countries and partners to encourage their technical teams in their efforts to collect and share accurate information, methodologies and good practices, in a rapidly evolving context. She also invited countries to move forward in their ambition to strengthen cooperation. “It is time to reaffirm our joint support to the MED-Amin network, and point out new areas for cooperation.”
Ms. Paz Fentes, Deputy Director at the General Directorate of Agricultural Productions and Markets of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of Spain, invited participants to increase the visibility of the network and the information it produces. As current MED-Amin president, Spain Ministry of agriculture has strengthened the dissemination of information provided by the network, in particular towards the private sector. Its experience can help other countries.
At the occasion of this meeting in Paris, national representatives targeted the future priorities for MED-Amin, and discussed an ambitious pathway for the network for MED-Amin Action Plan 2024-2026. This pathway, however, needs to be realistic and approached step by step, prioritising the activities.
Future priorities and recommendations for policy-makers
Member Countries recommended to strengthen exchanges at a more political level to:
- discus regularly food security issues and food crises management within MED-Amin, in a Strategic Forum;
- diversify and consolidate information and parameters monitored, including grains stocks and quality, and agricultural inputs;
- continue developing strategic partnerships and synergies with key international partners;
- strengthen visibility of the network for national institutions and private operators;
- enhance institutional and financial supports to the network.
The participants formulated recommendations for Mediterranean policy-makers on priority information and cooperation to set-up contingency strategies and increase preparedness and resilience of food systems. Those recommendations will be summarized in a Policy brief in 2024. The next steps will also include the development of a dashboard and a platform to better inform decision-makers in case of rapid response.
Participants recalled the critical need for qualified human resources to support the network and maintain the statistic capacities to provide accurate data on food markets, and cover new areas. MED-Amin support to national officers in the elaboration of cereal balance sheets and forecasting must be continued and facilitated by national Focal Points and national teams.
In 2024, Albania will be taking the Presidency of the network, hosting the 10th MED-Amin Annual Meeting of Focal Points. It will be the occasion to adopt the new MED-Amin 2024-2026 Action Plan.