TSKB Economic Research Publishes its Report entitled “Food Security: The Present and Future of Our Table”

24 September 2021
- 5 min Read

The TSKB Economic Research published its report titled “Food Security: The Present and Future of Our Table”. This report underlines that ensuring food security through policy steps based on sustainability has common points not only in tackling hunger, but also in a wide range of development themes related to combating the effects of the climate crisis, ensuring gender equality, promoting efficient use of water resources and preventing soil degradation. The report also draws attention to the fact that Turkey can achieve faster progress in food security and the related Sustainable Development Goals through financing from development finance institutions to ensure food security.

Unwaveringly continuing its research activities to support Turkey's economic and social development and sustainability, TSKB Economic Research published its new report entitled “Food Security: The Present and Future of Our Table”. The report draws attention to the fact that Turkey underperforms the OECD average in terms of food security, pointing out that food security can be achieved through policy steps based on sustainability and underlining that development finance institutions play an important role in supporting ensuring food security.

Prepared by Ms. Gül Yücel from the TSKB Economic Research Department, the report emphasizes that with the provision of food security in Turkey, progress can be achieved in the related Sustainable Development Goals.

The report analyses how food security is intertwined with other key development issues such as the climate crisis, water availability, land and gender equality. Setting out on these issues, it concludes that ensuring food security through policy steps based on sustainability is a topic with a great deal of common ground not only in combating hunger, but also in many development themes related to tackling the climate crisis, ensuring gender equality, promoting efficient use of water resources and preventing soil degradation.

The climate crisis may reduce annual food consumption by 4.6% per capita

According to the study featured in the report which warns that the devastating effects of climate change could trigger a decline in yields of basic agricultural products, annual per capita food consumption in the world is on course to reach 573 kilograms by 2050. On the other hand, it is stated that this figure decreases to 547 kilograms when the effects of the climate crisis are taken into account. In other words, projections indicate that per capita food consumption in the world may decline by 4.6% due to the climate crisis.

The report draws attention to the fact that the increasing population could drive demand for agricultural products in the coming period, and that a decrease in water resources in response to the increasing demand presents a major risk factor for the provision of food security. According to the report, Turkey allocates 84.9% of its total extracted water and 67% of its total groundwater to agricultural irrigation. This report notes that this situation poses a danger to the underground water sources, which serve as a reserve to be used in cases where there is a shortage of drinking and domestic water.

The report mentions the details of the From Farm to Fork Strategy within the scope of the European Green Deal. It also covers Turkey's policy agenda in the field of food security through the 2019-2023 Strategic Plan of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Economic Reforms Action Plan and the Green Deal Action Plan published by the Ministry of Commerce.

Other highlights of the report are as follows: 

  • The ratio of undernourished people in the world’s population is expected to increase from 8.9% in 2019 to 9.8% by 2030. 
  • Emissions arising from agricultural production and land use in the world constitute 18% of the total greenhouse gas emissions. However, academic studies find that besides food production, consumption and waste also generate significant emissions. About a quarter of the emissions arising from the production and consumption of food result from items which are spoiled in the supply chain or disposed of by consumers. 
  • According to FAO projections, world food production would need to increase by 60% by 2050 in order to meet the food needs of the growing population, along with a 15% increase in the amount of usable water. However, by 2025, it is estimated that 1.8 billion people will be living in areas under 'absolute scarcity' with less than 500 m³ of water per capita annually, with two thirds of the world's population experiencing water scarcity with an annual water availability of between 500-1,000 m³ per capita in certain regions set out in the report. Therefore, despite the increasing demand for agricultural production, dwindling water resources present a major risk to food security. 
  • The three sub-categories assessed as "very weak" on Turkey's food security index are "Agricultural Import Tariffs", "Water" and "Oceans, Rivers and Lakes", two of which are related to the water outlook. 
  • Turkey is positioned as the country allocating the highest share of extracted water to agricultural irrigation among OECD members. According to figures compiled by Aquastat, 84.9% of the total water extracted for water consumption is used for agricultural irrigation, a ratio well above the 30.9% average for EU member states. 
  • While 37% of the World’s land is used for agriculture, 33% of the land has been destroyed as a result of desertification. Studies highlight that landslides slash crop yields by up to 50% with EUR 1.5 to 3.4 trillion in economic losses due to deforestation and erosion per year. 
  • The share of food consumption in total income is higher in the female -headed families. This indicates that there are fewer financial resources for non-food expenditures in families where women are single parents. Ensuring food security can contribute to the economic empowerment of women by enabling women to allocate more resources to non-food expenditures if steps are taken to ensure that food is economically accessible. 
  • Although academic literature on quantifying the impact of the Farm to Fork Strategy on the EU and global economy has only just started to emerge, the studies indicate possible decreases in both agricultural production in the EU and competitiveness in export markets. The basic premise is that restrictions on the use of agricultural inputs such as pesticides, fertilizers, antimicrobials and others could set back technological innovation in agriculture, thereby accelerating a decline in agricultural production, in turn leading to inflation in food prices.

Please click to access the report “Food Security: The Present and Future of Our Table”