Qatar: Food shortage threatens 51 countries

With the world food demand set to rise by 70 percent over the next thirty years, experts at the International Conference on Food Security in Dry Lands (FSDL) yesterday called for innovative solutions to ensure food security.

Addressing the conference, organised by Qatar’s National Food Security Programme (QNFSP), Chairman of Qatar Administrative Control & Transparency Authority (QACTA), H E Abdulla bin Hamad Al Attiyah said that food shortages threaten around 51 countries embracing one thirds of the world’s population.

“Due to similarity in food security challenges in other world countries, Qatar has launched the initiative of Global Dry Land Alliance (GDLA) to serve as an umbrella for joint work between these countries,” Al Attiyah said, adding that it will find innovative solutions to the problem.

The two-day conference was held in collaboration with a number of national, regional and international partner institutions.

The opening ceremony was attended by President of Qatar University (QU) Professor Sheikha Abdulla Al Misnad, chairman of the conference, QNFSP chairman Sheikh Fahad Bin Mohammed Al Attiyah, among other dignitaries.

Chairman of Qatar Administrative Control & Transparency Authority (QACTA), H E Abdulla bin Hamad Al Attiyah, and other dignitaries at the International Conference on Food Security in Dry Lands (FSDL), yesterday.

Fahad bin Mohammed Al Attiya said that the conference is being held at a time when prices of food are going up in the international market. In a video message, the Secretary General of United Nations, Ban Ki Moon, said that climate change and food security are closely linked.

“The effects of climate change are particularly evident in the dry lands, which occupy more than 40 percent of our planet’s land,” he said. The UN official said that 18 million people in the Sahel are struggling through their third drought in less than 10 years.

“The Sahel crisis also points to the broader threat climate change poses to development, peace and security,” he said, adding that droughts such those in United States, Kazakhstan, Russia, Brazil and India also raise prices in the marketplace, which have serious economic, political and security ramifications.

Doha Declaration

Meanwhile, experts called on a definite solution to agricultural practices in the Doha Declaration, which will be announced at the end of the FSDL conference.

They called on increase in the investment in sustainable agriculture and to build innovative partnerships among farmers and governments. The FSDL conference, which ends today, focuses on food security, water resources, demand and management of these resources as well as responsible investment.

H H Prince Sultan bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Kabeer, who also spoke at a panel discussion yesterday, said that people in the Arab countries also need to look at their consumption patterns.

“We need to look at how much money and food is wasted in celebrations, such as for weddings. If there is a 40 to 50 percent spillage of food, then we need to stop it. We need to focus on the culture of consumption and reduce waste to maximum,” Al Kabeer said.

Qatar will host the Climate Change Conference (COP18) later this month, which will discuss the impact of climate change on food security.