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RIYADH: Climate change, natural disasters and other global challenges have prompted a new regional food security strategy from the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Faisal Al-Rawas, chairman of the Federation of the GCC Chambers, said the strategy is focused on developing agricultural, livestock, and fishery projects to achieve added value to the food industries, enabling the countries to achieve food security and sustainability for their citizens, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

This comes amid challenges such as climate change, water scarcity, natural disasters, and population growth, prompting GCC governments to implement strict policies to limit the export of agricultural and livestock products to achieve self-sufficiency.

Al-Rawas also drew attention to the fact that the GCC countries have launched several initiatives, projects, and incentives to boost investment in the agriculture and livestock sector. 

He stressed the need for the private sector to participate in developing the strategy in the fields of agriculture, animal husbandry, and fisheries as well as supportive service sectors to increase food products and commodities.

The GCC official pointed out that the federation has conducted studies to enhance integration in achieving food security, indicating that the added value of the agriculture and fisheries sectors in the Gulf economy amounted to about $30.5 billion. 

The volume of investment in food technology in the GCC countries amounted to about $3.8 billion, and the contribution of the agriculture and fisheries sector to the gross domestic product reached 1.8 percent.

Moreover, the number of Gulf companies in the agricultural and livestock sector has grown to 20 percent. 

In February, Juan Carlos Motamayor, CEO of the food company Topian, a NEOM subsidiary, told Arab News that Saudi Arabia is set to become a pioneer in food security as it develops systems and solutions that can be rolled out “across the planet.” 

He highlighted that this includes introducing new technologies urgently needed to feed humanity today and in the coming decades.

His comments came in the light of a World Bank Report published in January 2024, which highlighted a “tenuous access to food for nearly one out of every three people.”

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