Qatar, which puts food security as a top priority for the country’s development, has increased its investments in the food industries sector by 126 percent to QR5.2bn in 2019 from QR2.3bn in 2016, Minister of Commerce and Industry, H E Ali bin Ahmad Al Kuwari, said yesterday.
Addressing a panel discussion on food security at the Kuala Lumpur 2019 Summit, which concluded in the Malaysian capital yesterday, H E the Minister reiterated that in just two years, Qatar was able to achieve high levels of self-sufficiency in terms of various agricultural products and secure a strategic stock of commodities. He added that Qatar’s self-sufficiency in terms of dairy products increased from 27 percent to 106 percent and from 49 percent to 123 percent in terms of fresh poultry, said a statement issued by the Ministry.
During the panel discussion with the theme ‘The Role of Development in Achieving National Sovereignty’, H E the Minister also explained that the unfair blockade which has been imposed on Qatar since 2017 presented an important opportunity for the country to review its economic strategies and policies, particularly its plans to achieve food security.
He also commended the efforts of the governmental and private sectors, which bolstered Qatar’s strategic position in the field of food security as the country ranked first in the Arab world and 22nd globally in terms of food growth, according to the latest 2018 World Food Index.
Touching on Qatar’s efforts within the framework of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to achieve food security, H E the Minister said Qatar has pursued efforts to enhance and protect its national economic gains in the field of food security and has sought to join the list of net food-importing developing countries (NFIDCs) in the WTO since 2014. On March 9, 2016, Qatar submitted an application to the WTO’s Agriculture Committee to join the NFIDCs list, which offers its members with a set of specific guarantees to enhance and protect their food security.
H E the Minister added that Qatar also joined a WTO informal group, which brings together a number of countries that aim to reduce discriminatory restrictions such as Singapore, Switzerland, Japan and other countries in cooperation with the European Union. In this context, a joint paper was presented on the issue of export restrictions during the meeting of the WTO’s Agriculture Committee. H E Al Kuwari noted that the paper highlighted the importance of food security to many member states, particularly least developed countries and net food importing countries.
He added that the paper also referred to the restrictions imposed on the export of foodstuff that would affect the food security of importing countries and contribute to higher food prices globally.
During the event, H E Al Kuwari also called for the adoption of a comprehensive strategic approach to achieve food security and the implementation of effective mechanisms to ensure the sustainability of supplies especially for countries that depend on imports to secure their needs, which contributes to reducing food price fluctuations especially when it comes to basic commodities.
During the Ministerial meetings of the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation (COMCEC), Qatar submitted a proposal to launch a joint initiative aimed at establishing an agricultural commodities exchange for Islamic countries, which would facilitate intertrade. The Minister added that Qatar looked forward during the summit to prioritise the promotion of agricultural investments in Islamic countries and to encourage joint investments in this sector with a focus on the concept of value chains between neighbouring countries to enhance regional integration.
Source from: The Peninsula