Food security under water scarcity: a comparative analysis of Egypt and Jordan

Maria Christoforidou*, Gerlo Borghuis, Chris Seijger, Gerardo E. van Halsema, Petra Hellegers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Although there seems enough water available for our global food needs, there are large areas with growing water scarcity. Food security in these water scarce areas cannot be met through self-sufficiency. The only option is to become more dependent on food imports which is increasingly risky due to volatility in production and food prices. Before 2008, declining food prices and increasing global cereal production favoured the food import strategy. The 2008 world food crisis represented a shock to this strategy and renewed attention was paid to the self-sufficiency strategy. The aim of this paper is to compare the food security strategies of Egypt and Jordan, two water-stressed, increasingly populated, oil-poor countries, pre and post 2008, by means of a food-water analytical framework using FAOSTAT data. Findings show that Egypt and Jordan have many similarities in their food security situation as both are highly dependent on food imports (Egypt 50%, Jordan 95%), and both have a reduced capacity to absorb future price increases. As food imports are inevitable under the water scarce context of Egypt and Jordan, it is important to focus on how to cope with volatilities. Our analysis shows that Jordan has better absorbed the costs of rising food imports than Egypt and that Egypt is trapped by its high domestic cereal production. Having revealed the limited options available to water-scarce countries for food security, we discuss the potential of grain reserves to cope with future price hikes and production shocks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-185
JournalFood Security
Issue number1
Early online date16 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • 2008 world food crisis
  • Egypt
  • Food security strategies
  • Jordan
  • Water scarcity


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