24 proposals to boost food security approved

TWENTY-FOUR recommendations aimed at improving food security in the country were approved by the Shura Council yesterday.

The legislative and legal affairs committee has finished a full report with solutions for all related sectors.

It followed meetings with 17 ministries, government bodies and societies concerned over the past four months.

The report focuses on challenges and difficulties faced by the agriculture, animal welfare and fisheries sectors.

Multiple legislative solutions for food sustainability have been suggested alongside expert research.

They are: drawing up a national strategy for food security with clear deadlines and scope of work; forming a higher national authority for food security due to scattered jurisdictions amongst multiple parties; allocating a special fund for food security within the national budget; and working on new legislations with the National Assembly for food security, monitoring trade and reviewing licences besides determining stocks in each category.

Other recommendations are: introducing unified criteria for licences within the ministries of Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning and the Industry, Commerce and Tourism until the authority is launched; securing food stocks for basic commodities as Bahrain is 90 per cent dependent on imports; and taking serious action against rogue traders who increase prices during times of crises.

The council also approved: giving landlords of “white lands” special privileges that include reduced government fees for services to attract investors mainly in farming and agriculture projects; proper use of plots registered as endowments; using modern technologies for hydroponics and aquaculture; giving incentives for those in the food security field like exemptions from tariffs and taxes; and introducing new legislations for investment in the field.

Among other recommendations are: imposing restrictions on excessive imports that compete with local produce; encouraging banks to enter as partners or finance food security projects; seeking financial support from international organisations Bahrain is under to support the field; forging unified deals with other GCC member states on food security; and securing plots in other countries that Bahrainis could invest in for agriculture.

Tamkeen should also extend financial support to businesses in the field to invest in international markets besides Bahrain; support the agriculture sector to shift to clean energy in work being conducted; having open channels to address problems faced by those in the sector and resolving it immediately; encouraging school students to take up rare specialisations related to insects, organisms, and species; and have Bahrain University introduce specialised programmes in the field.

All recommendations, which were presented by committee chairwoman Dalal Al Zayed, will be now reviewed by the Cabinet.

A reply on each of the 24 recommendations will be made available by October.


Source: https://www.gdnonline.com/Details/935198/24-proposals-to-boost-food-security-approved


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