Food Security To Be Focus Of Islamic Leaders At COMCEC

From Nor Baizura Basri

ISTANBUL, Nov 9 (Bernama) — A roadmap on food security is
expected to be discussed among Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC)
leaders when they converged at the first economic summit of the
Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation (COMCEC)
held here.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said during one of
the sessions, they have agreed on a roadmap for food security which
included the setting up of a task force at the secretariat level.

“This task force will then propose suitable food security
programmes that can be implemented among OIC nations,” he told
reporters before attending the summit here on Monday.

Muhyiddin said Malaysia was ready to collaborate with OIC member
countries in terms of science and technology in food production as well
as in getting financial assistance from international financial
institutions like the International Development Bank (IDB).

“We want OIC member countries to give attention and focus on
raising food production. Because of this, we are prepared to work
together with them in raising the food production at each country,” he

He cited the example of rice production, saying Malaysia has used
various methods to improve production up to 90 per cent, including the
use of better seedlings, optimising use of land and having better
infrastructure in the sector.

On the halal standard, Muhyiddin said the standard being used by
Malaysia is among the best and could be considered as guidelines for
creating the global halal standard for use by other OIC nations.

“The OIC general guidelines on halal food, guidelines for bodies
providing halal certification and guidelines for authorised halal
accreditation bodies will be presented at the next COMCEC meeting next
year,” he said.

Through this, it could speed up the process for uniform halal standards among the OIC member countries, he added.

“We want efforts aiming at uniform halal standards to be stepped
up among the OIC member countries as the market has big potential and
estimated to be worth more than US$1 trillion,” Muhyiddin said.

“The OIC countries should lead, not only from the product aspect but also in services,” he said.

Muhyiddin also said that the trade preferential system among the
OIC nations, which had been on the table for discussion for seven
years, has now shown a positive outcome.

“As Bangladesh has ratified the protocol on the preferential tariff system, we hope that this can now start,” he said.

The system was supposed to be in operationalion by January 1 this
year, but it needed a 10-member country ratification quorum to become

Malaysia had ratified the agreement on March 27, 2006, and signed it on May 11, 2006.

Muhyiddin said with the implementation, intra-OIC trade could be increased among the OIC member countries.

The intra-OIC trade recently scaled up to 16 per cent of the total foreign trade volume of OIC member countries.