Trade Mitigates Climatic Challenges


In every part of the world, adverse weather periodically affects food production. Agricultural trade is a common-sense, efficient safety net. For example, the droughts and fires that occurred in Australia in 2008 and 2009 made that country unable to fulfill many grain delivery contracts it had signed. Through international trade, the U.S., Ukraine and other countries stepped in to make up the shortfall. This occurs routinely; no country is immune from weather events, and all countries benefit from the trade safety net. Some countries have no alternative to trade.

For example, Doaa Abdel Motaal, Counselor in the Office of the Director-General of the World Trade Organization, estimates that for Egypt to be wholly self-sufficient in food would require at least two or three more Nile Rivers. She also refers to Saudi Arabia, which was forced to put an end to a 30-year experiment with raising grain due to the depletion of water resources. “Thanks to international trade, Saudi Arabia is now able to meet its food needs,” she says.