Quotes: MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Kuwait - A look at food security  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - Arab News - 06/01/2014
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.

 


Arab News




  MENA News Headlines
 Aug 28 2015 - UAE's DP World profits logs 22 percent growth in H1MENAFN
(MENAFN) Global marine terminal operator DP World declared a surge of 22 percent in its net profit in the first six months, recording USD405 million compared to USD322 million in 2014, plus total ...

 Aug 28 2015 - Oman's fiscal deficit to expand at 12 percent of GDPMENAFN
(MENAFN) Oman's very high economic dependence on gas sector is going to add pressure to the public finance in 2015-16, although it has an ongoing solid economic growth.Meanwhile, the country's fiscal ...

 Aug 28 2015 - Saudi's foreign reserves shrink down 0.5 percent in JulyMENAFN
(MENAFN) The world's largest oil exporter has begun issuing domestic debt aiming at covering part of a budget deficit cause by low oil prices, and the result was that the speed of deterioration in ...

 Aug 28 2015 - UAE cuts September petrol prices as global oil fallsGulf Times
(MENAFN - Gulf Times) The UAE cut petrol and diesel prices by between 8% and 9% for September, the second month during which the Middle Eastern country, Opec's fifth-largest oil producer, removed ...

 Aug 28 2015 - Algeria targets hidden $40bn amid ignored oil-price pleasGulf Times
(MENAFN - Gulf Times) Day and night, trucks trundle the 10 miles from Algiers port to the suburb of Semmar, where workers unload and stack goods that will feed into a vast black market.Merchants pack ...

 Aug 28 2015 - Egypt power choices appease public, but squeeze industryGulf Times
(MENAFN - Gulf Times) Far fewer Egyptians are complaining about the kind of power cuts that fuelled unrest in the past but government energy policies apparently focused on appeasing the public are ...

 Aug 28 2015 - Saudis seek guidance on economy as stocks gyrateGulf Times
(MENAFN - Gulf Times) Saudi plastic surgeon and stock-market investor Sami al-Harki is looking for help.Al-Harki already lost 40% on his shares, but doesn't want to sell before the Saudi government ...

 Aug 28 2015 - US- Short-handed Giants beat CubsGulf Times
(MENAFN - Gulf Times) Joe Bochy, a San Francisco Giants scout, is in town to help evaluate the club on this homestand. Maybe he can turn in a report on his kid brother, Bruce.When you win with a ...

 Aug 28 2015 - Jordan- Rania: Muslims must do more to counter ISGulf Times
(MENAFN - Gulf Times) Queen Rania of Jordan said yesterday that moderate Muslims were not doing enough to fight against IS militants and their "diabolical ideology". Speaking at a major French ...

 Aug 28 2015 - Abbas heats up Palestinian politics in PLO reshuffle bidGulf Times
(MENAFN - Gulf Times) President Mahmoud Abbas is acting to shake up Palestinian politics, with peace talks with Israel in deep freeze and unity efforts with Hamas Islamists who run the Gaza Strip ...

more...


 






Google

Click to Apply

 
 

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

Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

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
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary


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


 
© 2014 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help