Bahrain's food security measures win praise
Manama, July 21, 2014
Bahrain has a good environment for food security, an assessment by the Economic Development Board (EDB) has found.
According to an EDB white paper launched yesterday, the kingdom has proven ability to stabilise food prices, secure imports, and operate advanced food safety and monitoring systems, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
The white paper uses the Economist Intelligence Unit food security index methodology.
The EDB said it has been able to identify complex elements that influence food security in the country and the kingdom's unique strengths and weaknesses and, in doing so, informing the debate and elevating the issue with policymakers and business decision makers.
Bahrain's highest performance is on the affordability of food is largely the result of low percentage spending on food relative to total household expenditure, as well as the universal subsidy programme used to stabilise the prices of essential food items.
The kingdom also boasts a food energy supply per capita per day of 2,829 kcal, significantly above the recommended average of 2,300 kcal by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.
However, the agricultural sector has attracted rising concern and development focus due to uncertainty triggered by the supply shocks experienced globally during the last five years and the ever-increasing price index for food items.
In Bahrain specifically, agricultural production has historically been constrained by the kingdom's climate and geography.
To address this issue, the government has been able to disburse increasing funds on agriculture research and development initiatives targeting smart space management and irrigation systems.
Imports have also been secured through strategic trading links and by providing efficient infrastructure for delivery and distribution of products.
"Food security is an increasingly important issue, not just for the Gulf and Middle East region but for the entire global economy as the world's population continues to rapidly expand," Transportation Minister and EDB acting chief executive Kamal Ahmed said.
"Ensuring that food is attainable and affordable there is enough food and that it is affordable is very much at the top of Bahrain's policy agenda.
"The research not only effectively evaluates Bahrain's position and confirms the kingdom's good environment for food security, but also looks at measures taken by government to secure food production and distribution channels.
"It is the ambition of this white paper to inform debate and encourage discussion around new ways to build on Bahrain's performance." - TradeArabia News Service