Official: Israel Has No Plan for Global Food Crisis

YERUSHALAYIM -
People buy strawberries at a market in Ashkelon. (Reuters/Amir Cohen)

The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, chaired by MK Ram Ben Barak (Yesh Atid), convened on Tuesday to discuss the issue of ensuring a food stockpile for emergencies. In the meeting, Chaim Anjoni, Director of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Crisis Management and Cyber Division, said: “The reference scenario or threat of the National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) refers to a relatively brief emergency period. If the discussion is addressing the risk of a global food crisis, meaning a wheat shortage around the world at some level, then that is something that Israel’s current emergency stockpile does not cover. Such stockpiles, in all areas, are not intended for a global food crisis that can last for an extended period.”

The committee chair asked whether his statement meant that Israel did not have a plan for a global food crisis, and Anjoni confirmed it.

Yossi Shapira of the National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) at the Ministry of Defense said: “Indeed, NEMA looks at well-defined emergency periods, not at an ongoing global crisis, for example, a food crisis. The leading scenario is the war scenario, not ongoing issues such as crop areas and population development.”

Committee Chairman Ben Barak summed up: “In this discussion we learned that we have a security problem related to food security, which is an essential component of our national security​, and there is no agency that deals with this matter on a permanent basis. There is no agency that says, let’s make a plan from today until 2050, and says what we must have here and what that requires, in various scenarios. We have to make sure that this happens, and I want the committee to conduct a thinking process with the National Security Council on this issue, as the representative of the executive branch — where should an agency should be formed and under whose responsibility, so that the State of Israel will know how to meet all the challenges it faces in a decade and in 30 years. The world is going in the direction of a catastrophe, and even a blind person can see it, so we need to start the staff work for a strategic food production plan for Israel, to be prepared for any crisis.”