GCC seeks cooperation to achieve food security

The environment, agriculture and food security ministers of the GCC region met and agreed to enhance technology to evade the lurking threat of drought in the region.

By Anwar Ahmad

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Published: Sat 27 Nov 2010, 11:22 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 4:12 PM

The Abu Dhabi Declaration was announced during the four-day conference, ‘SIAL Middle East 2010,’ organised by the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) at Abu Dhabi NationalExhibition Centre.

Speaking at the conference, Fawzi Al Sultan, President of the International Institute for Food Research Policy on Food Security and Safety at the global level and the Middle East and North Africa, said the population in the Middle East and North Africa would reach 700 million by 2050 and as per World Bank reports, the per capita availability of water in the Middle East and North Africa will be reduced by half. This reduction will result to infertile agricultural land, high prices of biofuel and climate changes that will lead to reduction in crop production by 11 per cent, Al Sultan said.

The Declaration emphasised cooperation between the public and private sectors in the development of agricultural and food industries and marketing of agricultural products. This can be achieved by strengthening collaboration among regional and international organisations related to food security, and reinforcing the capacity of United Nations Organisations related to food security, primarily the Food and Agriculture Organisations world wide.

On behalf of Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Dr Rashid Ahmad bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water, said the efforts of the Gulf Cooperation Council in the field of agricultural development and enhancing food security and development policies are vital and they should be in line with international best practices. The Minister stressed the need to strengthen cooperation among Gulf countries to achieve food security through strategies at the national and regional level.

According to Dr Jacques Diouf, Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the world today is facing a new crisis over rising food prices which exacerbated the problem of food security. Diouf stressed that an interest in agriculture would to a large extend help eradicate poverty and achieve the food security.

Deals worth Dh918m signed

ABU DHABI — The first Middle East edition of the world’s largest food industry exhibition was also organised as part of the SIAL Middle East 2010 conference. Food industry traders signed trade deals of nearlyDh918 million with different participating companies.

Around 400 exhibitors from more than 40 countries participated in the exhibition, with 80 per cent of them presenting their products in the region for the first time.

According to the organisers, total deals struck during the event amounted to Dh183.5 million ($50 million), while the various memoranda of understanding are valued at over Dh734 million (around$200 million). All the MoUs will graduate to actual trade agreements in the next three months.

Using Abu Dhabi’s stature as a major trade centre for a vantage point, the participants plan to reachout to the rest of the region with their products. Rashid Mohamed Al Shariqi, Director-General, ADFCA said “The GCC Ministerial Forum on Integrated Food Policies, held on the sidelines of SIAL, played a large role in turning the event into a great success, The pre-eminent position of Abu Dhabi as a commercial hub with enormous purchasing power and the vital importance of food security for the whole Gulf region also are factors that clinched this success.”

Mohamed Jalal Al Reyaysa, chairman of the organising committee for SIAL and the International Date Palm Festival and spokesperson of ADFCA, said themassive interest from the food industry in its first edition guaranteed a much bigger participation in the second edition next year.


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