Qatar has claimed the top spot among the Arab countries and 22nd globally in the Global Food Security Index (GFSI) 2018, released by The Economist Intelligence Unit. Qatar has managed to accomplish this feat despite the blockade imposed by the siege countries on the country since June 5, last year.
The Global Food Security Index considers the core issues of affordability, availability, and quality across a set of 113 countries. Singapore is ranked first in the 2018 GFSI ranking for the first time while Ireland is on the second place in the index. After maintaining the top spot between 2012 and 2016 and falling to second in 2017, the US has now dropped to third.
Qatar was ranked higher than 91 countries that included Italy, Russia, China, Turkey, India, Pakistan, Poland, Greece, Hungary, and Argentina.
Minister of Municipality and Environment H E Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Rumaihi said in a speech, given recently during a ceremony to honour agricultural producer, that the agriculture sector was developing greatly following the blockade, as the growth in agricultural, animal and fish products was growing rapidly.
The proactive steps taken by the concerned authorities have boosted agricultural production in the country. Qatar has achieved 100 percent self-sufficiency in dairy and fresh poultry products after unjust blockade.
According to the latest statistics of the Ministry of Municipality and Environment, the production of dairy products increased from 60,000 tonnes a year before the blockade to about 220,000 tonnes this year, an increase of more than 265 percent.
Fresh poultry production increased from 10,000 tonnes per year to about 22,000 tonnes per year, showing an increase of 120 percent, while the production of shell eggs increased from 4,000 tonnes before the blockade to about 10,000 tonnes, reflecting an increase of more than 150 percent.
The production of local vegetables in the country has increased from about 50,000 tonnes during the year before the blockade to about 65,000 tonnes after the blockade, an increase of 30 percent.
In 2018, the total area of protected greenhouses increased from 49 hectares in 2007 to 73 hectares in 2018. Thus, the quantities of vegetables produced increased from 4,814 tonnes last year to 6,500 tonnes this year. The area of unregulated greenhouses increased from 200 hectares in 2017 to 220 hectares, leading to an increase in production from 17,000 to 20,000 tonnes.
The production of vegetables in open land increased from 33,000 tonnes in 2017 to 36,000 tonnes in 2018. The report by The Economist Intelligence Unit said that GFSI provides a common framework for understanding the root causes of food insecurity by looking at the dynamics of food systems around the world.
Overall, the 2018 GFSI records a slight improvement in global food security. Just over 70 percent of countries included in the index have seen their scores rise, with the most substantial gains achieved by lower-middle- and low-income countries. The improvement among lower-income countries signals a shift towards more resilient food-security measures such as strengthened agricultural infrastructure.
The focus of this year’s report is the role of resilience in food security, which is vital in enabling interconnected social, economic and biophysical systems to meet people’s nutritional requirements.
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