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2 July 2008 09:39 am

GCC to combat food inflation

Khalifa Al Haroon
Khalifa Al Haroon
Your friendly neighborhood Qatari
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The GCC Secretary General Abdulrahman bin Hamad al-Attiyah yesterday called upon the member-states to join hands in “outsourcing suitable land for cultivation in the neighbouring Arab countries”. Addressing a GCC agriculture ministers’ meeting in Doha, he said: “It is important for the region to come together in a unified effort and joint strategies to combat the sky-rocketing food prices and face the challenges of ensuring food security, not only in the region but globally.” Ensuring improved agricultural production and food security in the Gulf region topped the agenda of the 19th meeting of the GCC Agricultural Co-operation Committee held at the Ritz Carlton yesterday. Present at the high-level meeting were the ministers of agriculture from the countries in the region as well as under-secretaries and stakeholders in the field. The focus of the meeting was intensely on food security because of the present trend of surging global food prices. He stressed that the decisions by some countries to make and use bio-fuels from agricultural produce was depriving many of their daily needs of sufficient food. The secretary general said that though the Gulf region was enjoying stability in terms of agricultural production based on the wise policy of its leaders, the region was still part of the international system as what affected the system affected the region. “To achieve our target, we have to initiate co-ordinated activities at the GCC level by adopting strategies that suit our potentials and resources as well as draw policies and programmes to reach the optimum level, whether economically, socially and environmentally,” Al-Attiyah said. GT HE the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Agriculture Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz al-Thani said that the ministers agreed on the initiative of the secretary general to convene a symposium regarding food security. “This initiative comes at the right time because food security is a matter that pre-occupies all the GCC citizens at the moment,” he said. Asked whether the meeting considered lifting the ban on import of live cows from countries afflicted with mad cow disease, he said a committee would be formed soon to look into the matter. He disclosed that many unified laws and resolutions were analysed by the meeting, which were being referred to the GCC leaders’ meetings.