We are doing science for policy
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.
The JRC's agro-economic modelling platform iMAP recently carried out economic analyses to provide insights into how different policy options could potentially foster growth and enhance food security in the Southern Mediterranean region. Simulations were viewed within the context of the Euro-Med integration and trade liberalisation between the EU and Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia respectively.
The EU is by far the main trading partner of these countries, but this relationship is not reciprocal. Taking the example of Morocco, the EU is the destination of about 60% of its exports (65% for food and animal products) and the most important source of its imports. By contrast, only about 1% of EU exports are destined to Morocco, and EU imports from Morocco represent about 0.5% of European total imports. Four scenarios were analysed, paying special attention to key challenges such as non-tariff measure removal (which according to projections could potentially boost North African GDP by up to 2.7%), world food price rising, investments, and food waste mitigation. The results show, for example, that improvements could be made by increasing agricultural productivity and cutting down losses (waste) in food production. Improved storage and handling can be considered as a first step in reducing this dependency, while reinforcing food security and job opportunities beyond the agricultural sector. Fostering research, technology transfer and innovation will thus be critical.
The JRC carried out these analyses in cooperation with the agricultural-economic institute (LEI) of Wageningen University and researchers from Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey.