Shura to review food stocks reserve plan

BAHRAIN’S legislators are set to make it compulsory on the government to have adequate clearly-labelled food reserves.

There would also have to be a clear indication of the minimum amount required in percentage terms of safety stock.

The amendment to the 2015 Consumer Protection Law, which Shura Council members on Sunday will refer to the relevant committee for review, has been presented by five council members, spearheaded by services committee chairwoman Dr Jihad Al Fadhel.

The Industry, Commerce and Tourism Ministry in co-ordination with relevant authorities will have to draw a framework, suggest plans and prepare a database and ensure the continuation of necessary items.

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

Adequate safety stock levels permit business operations to proceed according to their plans, and, in this case, an ability to feed a nation in troubled times.

All suppliers will be obliged to be able to present the ministry with details of named items within a week.

The ministry would also have the right to launch an electronic link with suppliers to check directly on available stocks.

“Ensuring food security in all aspects whether agriculture, aquaculture and food sustainability has been ordered by His Majesty King Hamad at the opening of the third session of the fifth legislative term of the National Assembly in October,” said Dr Al Fadhel in her written explanation.


Dr Al Fadhel


The Cabinet in the draft 2021-2022 state budget has included BD2.5m next year as operating costs for securing strategic stockpiles.

The GDN has learnt that Shura’s amendments would be used as the mechanism for its operations.

The GDN published last month that Bahrain has created strategic food stock reserves for six months because of the exceptional global health crisis.

It has been created on orders from His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince Prime Minister, to offset possible emergencies that Covid-19 would create.

This buffer stock has been created in a record time, said Industry, Commerce and Tourism Minister Zayed Alzayani at the time.

The ministry drew up a plan in March, he said in a written reply to a question by MP Isa Al Qadhi on the country´s strategic food reserves.

The plan was endorsed by the Government Executive Committee, he said.

The minister said the ministry received directives to ensure food reserves on March 8. On March 17, a meeting was held with representatives of food companies to review the project requirements and on March 23 an urgent budget was allocated.

From March 24 to April 2, import and storage agreements for a six-month period were signed and import operation was started, he noted.

A team in charge of implementing the plan prepared a detailed study including a list of basic food items to be provided in emergency cases in accordance with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), Mr Alzayani said.

The ministry’s role comprises controlling and inspecting the private sector to ensure food reserves are available under all circumstances, he pointed out.

The GDN also previously reported that the King had issued instructions to set up companies for the project, covering agriculture and fish farming. The strategy aims to develop national food industrial capabilities, increase local production and preserve agricultural professions.

Six plots of land have been identified across Bahrain to be used to boost agricultural production as part of efforts to ensure food security. The plan also seeks to bolster fish farming with four sites earmarked for the purpose.

The move is expected to raise the local production of vegetables up to 20 per cent and also achieve 50pc to 62pc self-sufficiency in fish.

Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Minister Essam Khalaf said, at the time the initiative was launched, that the pisciculture project would cover 62pc of Bahrain’s needs.

He also said the project aims to support Bahraini youngsters to work in the field of agricultural and fish production sectors and adopt innovative technologies for sustainable production. The plots of land identified across the kingdom are at Hunainya Valley, Sanad, Al Dair, Duraz, Howrat A’ali and Shahrakan. The proposed sites for fisheries will be in Ras Hayyan, East Al Dor, East Ras Al Qurain and Ras Al Bar.




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