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Feb 21, 2012

Editor Abu Dhabi National - Middle East's Gulf Cooperation Council Nations (GCC) Have Food Sustainability Problem

On 21 February 2012, James Doran, the deputy business editor Abu Dhabi's The National published an article in the Huffington Post on the issue of food, sustainability and the Middle East.  He starts by pointing out that the growth boom brought on by the discovery of oil in the 20th century challenges the residents with the issue of finding sufficient food to feed everyone in the 21st century.  

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations
Historically, the Gulf region has never produced a surplus of food due to the desert climate.  According to a Qatari banking group QNB Capital report, the population of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) was 33 million in 2004 and will reach 50 million in 2013.  Population growth is approximately 3 percent.

The Gulf region and North Africa already import "about 90 percent of all their food. What is more, the latest data from the Economist Intelligence Unit suggests that imports are set to climb by as much as 105 percent from US$25.8 billion (Dh94.76bn) in 2010 to $53.1 billion in a decade or so.  The UAE imports about 80 percent of its food at a cost of about $3 billion a year and consequently is at the mercy of market forces."

"Food imports in this country are expected to jump about threefold to $8.4 billion by 2020, according to the latest data cited by Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, the Minister for Foreign Trade, who spoke yesterday at the opening of Gulfood 2012, the huge food trade show taking place this week in Dubai."

"The UAE has taken up that challenge, investing in agricultural land all over the world, from Sudan to Macedonia. This policy of forging partnerships with regions that need investment and development is canny but cannot be applied globally."

"It is clear we also need to embrace technology to enable us to double or triple food production to meet our needs."

For more see: Doran, James. “Focus on the Food: The Middle East Looks toSustainability for Answers,” Huffington Post, 21 February 2012.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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