An Israeli think tank is warning that government relaxation of food import tariffs intended to improve the local supply may ultimately backfire.
Although the state of food security in Israel is better than in most countries, threats arising from climate change, international conflicts and disruptions in global supply chains may negatively affect that security, according to a report published this month by the Shoresh Institution for Socioeconomic Policy.
In the first 40 years of the existence of the state, massive investments in agriculture resulted in an output that grew faster than the population, ensuring no Israeli would ever again experience the food shortages of the first years following independence.
However, the report warns that population growth in the Jewish State, combined with the slowdown in the growth of its agricultural production – which led to an increasing reliance on food imports – expose Israel to “even greater global risks and require the formulation of a risk management strategy.”
Among the 32 nations of the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) that participated in a 2021 ranking on food security, Israel placed 12th – but when broken down, Israel ranked fifth and seventh respectively in terms of food availability and affordability, and 10th in terms of food quality and safety, according to the report.
Israel ranked second to last in the field of natural resources and resilience.
The think tank recommended the establishment of a government authority to oversee formation of that strategy and to supervise its implementation to avert the looming crisis.