New move for food security

A GENERAL authority for food security could be set up in Bahrain despite the government announcing plans to establish a higher committee for the purpose.

The Cabinet will now draft the set-up law for the authority within six months following its approval by the Shura Council in its final session of the term yesterday.

The proposal was presented by five members led by legislative and legal affairs committee chairwoman Dalal Al Zayed and recommended by the public utilities and environment affairs committee.

“The proposal is important but having a designated government authority at this time is not feasible,” said Parliament and Shura Council Affairs Minister Ghanim Al Buainain.

“A draft blueprint for a higher national committee for food security has been finalised and will be presented at an upcoming Cabinet session,” he added.

“The Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Ministry, which would head the committee, is already working with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on a 10-year food security plan.”

Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Minister Essam Khalaf said Shura and the government were aiming for the same goal: Achieving food security.

“Food security needs to be handled through co-ordination and not an establishment that could cost millions of dinars to set up and whose work could overlap that done by the other ministries.

“My ministry already handles agriculture, cattle and poultry; the Industry, Commerce and Tourism Ministry deals with export and food stocks besides securing trade flow; the Health Ministry monitors food safety; the Electricity and Water Affairs Ministry handles water resources and reserves, and the Interior Ministry deals with emergencies and disasters.”

The minister added that initiatives and projects for food security were underway because the current 90 per cent reliance on food imports was wrong.

Shura first vice-chairman Jamal Fakhro said members should stop thinking about spending lavishly on new government bodies when there are ministries doing the job.

Shura last month approved a new-look legislation that will make it compulsory for the government to have clearly-labelled food and commodity reserves.

The government will be obliged to clearly indicate, in percentage terms, the minimum amount required as “safety stock”.

Safety stock is a term used by logisticians to describe a level of extra stock that is maintained to mitigate the risk of a shortfall caused by uncertainties in supply and demand.

The Cabinet has allocated BD2.5 million in the 2021-2022 budget as operating costs for securing strategic stockpiles.




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