Tuesday, December 6, 2011

New solutions needed to improve food security in Gulf

JEDDAH: Economic analysts and experts say the world's major threats of population growth, climate change and natural disasters, which have led to food shortage and an increase in food prices, will consequently endanger food security in the Gulf.

The issue of food security in the GCC countries has become alarming with the rapid growth in global population, harsh climatic changes and natural disasters that have affected food-exporting countries — especially those in East Asia. All these factors together led to raising average food prices by 30-40 percent, amid expectations that prices will continue to increase at record levels over the next five years.     

If these challenges are still a distant reality for GCC countries, this does not mean the Gulf region is immune against their effects. The picture of any impact on the Gulf region can be seen clearly and strongly through food imports.

The GCC countries export about 70 percent — 80 percent to secure its food needs, and this figure rises to be around 100 percent with the export of basic food commodities for traditional Gulf daily dishes. More