Posted on: Thursday 6 September, 2012 1:31
|GCC urged to strengthen internal food resources
Khalil bin Abdullah al Khonji, Chairman of Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI), called upon the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries to explore ways to strengthen food security system and urged them to derive a system in which the supply chain is not affected in any situation. He suggested them to impress upon rice producing countries like India, Pakistan, Thailand, Vietnam etc to store rice in the GCC countries and export them to African or any other countries. "By letting them stock food grain in the GCC countries, we can manage the food security to a large extent," he said.
In his comments to Observer on the sidelines of the recently concluded Gulf Partnership and Investment Forum, Al Khonji urged the GCC governments to build large silos and lease them out to private players for the sake of grain storage and businesses related to them. "For wheat, we already have flour mills. They can easily double the capacity and ask for support from the respective government departments. Food processing units, according to him, can help build enough stock for meat, white meat, fish and even animal feed. The Forum evoked good response from the participating Federation of GCC Chambers (FGCCC) members.
The members discussed the issue of Food security under the chairmanship of Al Khonji, who is also the Chairman of the Federation of GCC Chambers. The meeting discussed the efforts of the GCC countries to achieve food security and resolved to hold more such meeting to reach at a conclusion and derive general consensus among them. Al Khonji said that investment in food sector outside the GCC countries needs to be reconsidered in the wake of current global and political situation that may pose a major threat to the Gulf food security.
Al Khonji termed the Gulf Partnership and Investment Forum successful, as it generated lots of interest for investment in Salalah as also in the Sultanate. "Successful match making and B to B meetings were held during the Forum and a lot of GCC citizens and investors expressed interest to make joint venture in the Sultanate's tourism sector. Some expressed interest to invest in vocational training and nursing, while yet another group wants to invest in aquaculture," he said.