Reacting to fears that COVID-19 lockdowns would cause food shortages, Gulf Cooperation Council countries approved Kuwait’s proposal to establish an integrated food security network across the region.
The decision was made during a teleconference among ministers of trade and industry in GCC member states. They directed the General Secretariat of the GCC to prepare a working paper on food security and to establish a committee to monitor the flow of commodities among the Gulf states.
Kuwait’s proposal entails establishing a food security network with the aim of ensuring adequate food supplies in the Gulf during times of crisis. The Kuwaiti Ministry of Trade also proposed the use of express lines at customs checkpoints to speed the delivery of essential food and medical supplies.
Food security is a challenge in a region where less than 2% of the land can support crops. Fresh water is scarce and usually found only at depths of 1,000 to 10,000 feet. Kuwait’s lack of arable land is even more pronounced: Only 0.6% of the country’s land supports crops.
Driven by these factors, GCC states have prioritized irrigation schemes, diversifying imports of agricultural products and construction of domestic food processing plants.
Sources: Arab News, Al-Jazeera