Libyan food security is threatened and the danger of hunger affects a third of the population

A beautiful sunset

Unexpected inspection campaigns carried out by the Municipal Guard in Libya On certain food stores, reputable restaurants and even pharmacies and hospitals of the scale of the health disaster that threatens Food safety In the country, leaving a wide shock among the citizens of the extent of the laxity and the fragility of the control of food and drugs, safety valve for their health.

The food threat is not limited to the poor supply of consumables and non-compliance with sanitary conditions, but also the inability to provide adequate food to around a third of Libyans, according to recent reports published by the United Nations.

health disaster

The latest roundups launched by regulatory bodies on food Benghazi and Tripoli In the past two weeks, disasters threatening the health of citizens have appeared in some restaurants with resounding names frequented by hundreds of citizens every day, in the absence of even a small part of hygiene and health security measures. .

These campaigns have reopened the threatened food security file on all sides, with the repeated leaks of expired consumables through the wide-open borders, and the entry of many foreign workers without issuing them health certificates attesting that they are free from disease. infectious and communicable, most of them turning to work in restaurants, bakeries and a vegetable and meat market.

In Benghazi in particular, the disaster was made worse after the City Guard released video clips from inside the city’s two largest hospitals showing the extent of hygiene neglect, the spread of bacteria and insects and the use of medicines that expired several months ago. , which doubled the shock for the citizen who now seeks refuge from the threat of disease in hospitals suffering from neglect and the provision of an environment conducive to the spread of infection.

The biggest dilemma

The health catastrophe that threatens the food security of Libyans due to the weak control of consumer goods, markets and restaurants can be overcome by strengthening control measures in relation to the most serious dilemma, which is the problem of food shortages raised. by the United Nations in a report by its nutrition program last month, which warned that a third of Libyans were food insecure and a large number of children were suffering from illnesses linked to malnutrition.

The food situation in Libya is likely to worsen, analysts say, as the government stability crisis continues and the war in Ukraine prolongs, with the price of minimum expenditure for the food basket increasing by 16% since the end of the month. outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian Crisis, according to the latest report from the World Food Programme.

The report states that “13% of Libyan families have a food security deficit and the price of the food basket has increased by around $164 since last February”, and the World Food Program estimated that “the number of Libyans who have need for humanitarian aid aid is about one million and 300 thousand people, 699 thousand Some of them suffer from food insecurity, and some of them benefit from the food aid that the program supervises, distributing monthly in a number of areas.

The total number of beneficiaries of the UN aid program last June was 65,989 people, including 43,992 students and 2,950 immigrants residing in the country.

The war in Ukraine has caused a severe shortage of wheat imports to Libya and has prevented countries from exporting commodities for local market needs, including Egypt and Tunisia, on which Libya depends for its food imports.

Libya imported 650,000 tonnes of wheat annually from Russia and Ukraine, half of its needs, while some bakeries closed due to the high price of flour and its disappearance from the market.

Measures to deal with the crisis

Since the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, the Ministry of Economy and Trade of the “unity government” has announced a set of decisions aimed at mitigating the impact of the crisis on the country’s economy, including research alternative markets to import quantities of basic foodstuffs.

Libya’s wheat and barley production over the past year has reached 100,000 tonnes, while the country consumes about 1.26 million tonnes annually.

Last May, the government announced the formation of a team specializing in the preparation of a food security strategy that would help the country deal with the food crisis resulting from the war in Ukraine. This strategy, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Economy in Tripoli, means “activating industrial projects blocked by investments with the sector.” Local and foreign private sector, activate the agricultural departments of the southern region, support the agricultural, industrial and commercial sectors and develop a strategy that contributes to consumer food security.

Loss of compass

In previous statements by the Minister of Economy and Trade of the “National Unity Government”, Muhammad Al-Hawij, he confirmed that his ministry and the government in general are facing difficulties in advancing the Libyan economy. and maintain food security. Wild capitalism.

Al-Hawaij called on the Ministry of Agriculture to “devise a vision to solve the problems of farmers” and urged the Agricultural Bank to import high-yielding seeds, subsidize fertilizers and provide loans that help farmers improve production and meet local needs. The most important thing for the Federation of Chambers, which brings together businessmen, is to present a global vision of food and medical security at the local level and to define the role of entrepreneurs and the State in this national project.

He also stressed “the importance of exploiting the southern regions, which are the most important regions of Libya, in the distribution of agriculture, especially wheat and the production of solar energy”.

Desert Encounter

For his part, Professor of Economics at the University of Benghazi, Attia Al-Fitouri, said: “The main reasons for the imbalance of food security in Libya are that most of the country’s land is desert, and the agricultural land does not exceed 8 percent of the total land area”. He pointed out that “even the Kufra project (south of Sharqi), which included large and small farms, was intended to meet all of Libya’s red meat needs, especially sheep. The plan to raise 200,000 sheep was impractical due to the difficulty of supplying what the farm produces to the northern regions due to the long distance between them and poor means of transportation,” he said. -he explains. There were several projects similar to the Kufra project, but mismanagement in Libya thwarted them and caused a food security crisis in the country. »

For his part, economics professor Ali Al-Faidi considered that the current food situation in Libya is a prelude to something worse, saying that “the situation is deteriorating further with the continuation of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, in more crises than the Conditions are very fragile and cannot withstand other hardships including The food system is very weak and the country has almost no agricultural land and the whole country produces enough food for only five per cent. hundred of its population.

He added that “the most affected by the deterioration of the food situation are the children, not to mention the crises in the supply of vaccinations, which will transform the affair into a disaster if it continues”. Faced with these difficulties, Libya will enter a phase of famine which will show no mercy for the young or the old.”


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