Quotes: US MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

A look at food security  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - Arab News - 05/01/2014
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!



(MENAFN - Arab News) Hardly three months passed since the third Afro-Arab summit concluded in Kuwait and some troubling signals have started to show up.

The convening of the summit on time consolidated the impression that it will be an established practice for Arabs and Africans to meet regularly and build block by block and turn optimism into tangible cooperation between the two regions.

One of the vital areas of cooperation is agriculture seen as of national significance to both: agriculture is the main economic backbone for many African countries for sustaining the livelihood of many of its inhabitants as well as providing jobs for them.

For Arabs, especially in Gulf countries, African cooperation provides one of the best opportunities to achieve food security.

Their investments constitute more than mere FDI as they relate to food security and a chance for technology transfer, better utilization of land, improved production, bringing in more land into use and help improve infrastructure.

Though investment in agriculture is not a new phenomenon, but over the past few years it attracted attention given the growing size of land allocated for the purpose of food security, from 10,000 hectares to even as high as 500,000 hectares.

Also, the life span of such arrangement goes in some cases up to 99 years. Despite that and the feeling that Africa has been saturated, available statistics show that all such plans account only for no more than 25 percent of arable land in the continent.

But the outcome over the past five years does not seem satisfactory to both sides, which indicates a gap between the policy and implementation levels, lack of portraying clearly to the public what has been going on.

As a result, some foreign investors, and out of sheer experience, found out that they are wasting more of their time trying to overcome infrastructure difficulties, support at local level as communities insist on having more say in terms asking for job opportunities, services and a share on the expected production.

That led some investors to look somewhere else mainly into a more mature investment climate, where the rule of law is guaranteed, infrastructure is there as well as policies and needed mechanisms in place to guarantee the investors' rights.

A good example of this trend is the agricultural firm, Al-Dahra of the UAE, who concluded in March a deal that allowed it to buy eight agricultural companies for 400 million in Serbia.

There is also Jenaan of Abu Dhabi with investments in the US and Spain, and Hassad Food, the agricultural arm of Qatar's sovereign wealth fund, who has set up a subsidiary in Australia to focus on growing wheat, barley and animal husbandry.

The deal represents a possibility for potentially similar projects in Europe, North America and Australasia that though they could be more expensive and offer less scope to build vast estates like in Africa, but they also present fewer political problems and less risk.

These are just examples of a growing trend to diversify and get a better and secured investment portfolio.

The Saudi decision to go completely out of wheat by 2016 reflects the importance and the significance of the issue of food security felt in various Gulf countries at different stages.

But that is not enough in itself to provide the needed results for investors and their hosts.

There is a need to address some sensitive issues that so far have not been addressed in a frank and more transparent way.

For instance, the political instability has always been a factor, compounded by poverty. Though that is ultimately is an issue for the host countries to deal with depending on their political choices, investors are having some responsibility to protect their own image. Buying or leasing large tracts of land was seen and portrayed in some cases as 'land grab,' where foreigners are seen exploiting the needs of the host countries.

It goes without saying that for any investment to succeed it needs to operate in a friendly atmosphere. And that is where there is a need to translate the declarations of the Afro-Arab summits into more concrete and tangible policies that make use of the political umbrella provided and engage with concrete issues in a positive way to create the much needed friendly environment and make an impact that benefits both sides.

 






  MENA News Headlines
 Jul 29 2014 - New additions to Local Harvest brand of datesKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) E dates come from farmers who have contracts with ADFSC and therefore practise date palm farming according to the centres standards.For the next three weeks the Abu Dhabi ...

 Jul 29 2014 - PayTabs to launch online solutions in Bahrain, SaudiMENAFN
(MENAFN) PayTabs, a payment processing solution company co-owned by Saudi Aramco, is set to launch its online payment processing solutions in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, Gulf Daily News reported.The ...

 Jul 29 2014 - Mobily signs LTE-4G roaming deal with BatelcoMENAFN
(MENAFN) Mobily telecom has signed an LTE-4G roaming deal with Bahrini Batelco to provide customers with advanced Internet services, Arab News reported.This agreement coincides with Eid Al-Fitr ...

 Jul 29 2014 - Radiant During RamadanMuscat Daily
(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Keep your skin and hair glowing and shiny even as you're fasting in this holy month. Some tips... Moisturise Your skin too gets dehydrated when you fast. It is ...

 Jul 29 2014 - Duqm Airport takes offMuscat Daily
(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) The newly opened Duqm Airport received its first Oman Air flight ahead of schedule on Wednesday with officials saying that the facility will serve as an air transport and ...

 Jul 29 2014 - Air fares rise by 35 as travellers rush to make the most of long breakMuscat Daily
(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Fares of most airlines have gone up due to the increase in demand during Eid al Fitr holidays. The prices of tickets to different destinations have gone up by nearly 35 per ...

 Jul 29 2014 - MoHC invites bid for construction of $250mn Oman Cultural ComplexMuscat Daily
(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) After announcing the appointment of the UK-based international consultancy and construction company, Mace as project manager for the Oman Cultural Complex (OCC), the Ministry ...

 Jul 29 2014 - Moon sighting expected on Monday eveningMuscat Daily
(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) The crescent of the new moon is expected to be visible on Monday evening across all governorates in the sultanate, marking the beginning of the month of Shawwal, according to ...

 Jul 29 2014 - Pakistan's film industry becomes alive againArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) HORE: A breed of brand new independent filmmakers is successfully filling the void left by an obsolete industry known as Lollywood.In many ways 2013 was an era-defining year for ...

 Jul 29 2014 - Pak-British singer faces death threats over Gaza supportArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) NDON: Zayn Malik probably wasn't expecting the barrage of abuse he received from followers after he pledged his support for the #FreePalestine social media campaign The ...

more...


 






Google

 
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network
Arabic MENAFN

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

IPO News
Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

US Markets Details

Commodoties

Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks
 

Algeria 
Bahrain 
Egypt 
Iraq
Jordan 
Kuwait 
Lebanon
Morocco 
Oman 
Palestine
Qatar 
Saudi Arabia 
Syria
Tunisia 
UAE 
Yemen

Weather
Investment Game
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary

My MENAFN
Portfolio Tracker

Voting

Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor

Events

Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters


 
© 2000 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help