Awarded Projects

Food Security and Food Sovereignty in the Middle East Grant Recipients

In 2010, CIRS launched a grants cycle on “Food Security and Food Sovereignty in the Middle East.” As part of this initiative, CIRS awarded five grants to support interdisciplinary projects that focus on examining some of the GCC’s international agricultural and land investments. 

  • “Industrial Organization of Fresh Foods Value Chains in the Middle East – Two Case Studies from Lebanon and Qatar” by Jad ChaabanHala Ghattas, and Karin Seyfert, American University of Beirut.
    Food sovereignty is challenged by increasingly globalized supply chains, where international companies dominate national food markets. This study aims to examine Middle Eastern food quality as well as quantity and will address questions of governance over the food chain. It attempts to determine what food reaches consumer markets and at which price, where the highest profit margins are accumulated. The researchers will adopt a value chain approach to analyze the industrial organization of fresh food markets in Lebanon and Qatar.  
  • “An Economic Analysis of the Costs of National Food Sovereignty Policies in the Middle East: The Case of Lebanon and Jordan” by Jane Harrigan, University of London
    This research looks at the economic consequences of current food sovereignty policies in the Middle East with case studies of Lebanon and Jordan. A variety of methodological tools and techniques will be applied to evaluate each country’s food security strategy and to assess the economic costs of the drive towards greater food sovereignty. Extensive data collection will take place in each country, in order to quantify the economic costs and trade-offs involved in greater domestic food production in the region.  
  • “External Food Security Strategies: Risks and Opportunities for the Gulf States” by Mary Ann Tétreault, Trinity University; Benjamin Shepherd, University of Sydney; Deborah L. Wheeler, United States Naval Academy
    Arabian Gulf states are seeking agricultural land in developing countries. This strategy offers the possibility of securing reliable long term food supplies but has been criticized as risking exploitation of communities in the host countries. This project will examine two cases of Gulf-state land investments in developing country agriculture to develop a long-term prognosis for this going abroad strategy. The questions to be addressed are: What risks accrue to Gulf state investors in pursuing it? What could increase the likelihood of long-term success? Read Benjamin Shepherd’s article on “Thinking Critically about Food Security,” Security Dialogue, June 2012, vol. 43, no. 3, p. 195-212.  
  • “Food Security and Food Sovereignty in the Middle East” by Elisa Cavatorta and Sam Waples, University of London
    This project studies the effect of environmental factors on the spatial patterns of household food security in the Middle East. It is primarily aimed at understanding spatial patterns of food consumption and quantifying the impact of environmental constraints on food insecurity in the region. During the course of this project, two case studies will be carried out in Syria and the Palestinian Territories.  
  • “Urban Agriculture: A Sustainable Solution to Alleviating Urban Poverty, Addressing the Food Crisis, and Adapting to Climate Change” by Shadi Hamadeh and Salwa Tawk, and Mounir Abi Said, American University of Beirut
    The proposed study will assess existing urban agriculture in two low-income neighborhoods in Lebanon and Jordan respectively. The project will investigate the presence, forms and role of urban agriculture in contributing to food security, and to enhancing households’ nutritional and economic levels. In addition, the proposed research aims to examine how urban agriculture may play a role in enhancing environmental sustainability and helping communities adapt to the effects of climate change.