Director-General  QU Dongyu

FAO and Oman step up joint efforts to address water scarcity and transform agri-food systems


23 February 2021, Rome - The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), QU Dongyu, today held virtual talks with Saud bin Hamoud bin Ahmed Al-Habsi, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries Wealth and Water Resources of Oman.

The Minister, who took office last year, started the meeting by expressing his appreciation for the technical support provided by FAO through its country office, its regional office in Cairo and from headquarters. He then paid tribute to the initiatives introduced by the Director-General, highlighting the Sultanate’s strong support to FAO’s Hand-in-Hand Initiative.

The Minister also alluded to the recent restructuring efforts in the Sultanate, which have seen the area of water resources be added to the Ministry’s portfolio. He highlighted the ongoing national efforts to transform the agricultural sector and to address the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, through innovative approaches including digitalization, empowering women in agriculture, facilitating engagement with the private sector as well as promoting public-private partnerships.

The Minister expressed strong interest in collaborating with FAO to leverage digital-based innovations that could enhance the competitiveness of the Omani date and honey sectors.

The FAO Director-General congratulated the Minister for the active and dynamic role the Sultanate plays in promoting the agricultural sector and in particular the important contributions to the fisheries and aquaculture sectors, noting that Oman can serve as a model for agri-food systems transformation for countries facing similar challenges.

During the talks, the Minister informed the Director-General of the International Water Summit that the Sultanate will host in 2023, and invited the Director-General to attend the event. Both parties emphasized the need for stepping up efforts to address water scarcity in the region as a key priority.

The Director-General also highlighted the need for adapting food production and consumption patterns to the available natural resources.

The FAO Chief commended the good example displayed by Oman in focusing on diversifying the national food production based on renewable resources, advanced technologies and ideal exploitation of the Sultanate’s strategic location and its biodiversity, in line with the Oman 2040 vision, and invited the Minister to attend the FAO Conference in June 2021.