From the podium

From the podium

His Excellency Abdullah A. Bin Moammar (Minister for Agriculture and Water of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) (Original language Arabic)

In the name of the Allah, the Almighty, it gives me great honour to convey to you the greetings of His Majesty the custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Fahad Bin Abdul Aziz – may God bless him - and his hopes that your conference Summit achieves its noble goals in serving humanity.

It also gives me great pleasure, on behalf of the Government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, to actually congratulate you, Your Excellency for being elected President of the Summit. I seize this opportunity to confirm to Your Excellency, and your assistants, our full cooperation and commitment to save no effort towards the success of the Summit, so that it would reach resolutions and attain results that could, hopefully, benefit people all around the world, particularly those inflicted with food shortage and suffering from malnutrition.

I would like also to seize the opportunity to extend, on behalf of my country, gratitude to his Excellency, the Director General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Dr. Jacques Diouf, for the efforts he and his colleagues exerted in the preparation for this Summit.

Your Excellency, Your Excellencies, Honourable Heads of Delegations, Since the World Food Summit in 1996, the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been closely following all the efforts performed by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization towards the improvement of world food situation, to preventing famine, and to reduce the number of famine-stricken people. This has been apparently sought by developing food production programmes and enhancing the efficiency of agricultural production techniques. Applying agricultural technologies of the hungry worldwide reached a meagre figure of eight million people, whereas the targeted figure on the basis of the resolutions, adopted by the Word Food Summit Conference in 1996 was more than 20 million. Consequently we must extend further efforts to deal with the causes and obstacles that prevented the attainment of the target reduction light of the reports, documents, studies, recommendations presented to this Conference by FAO administration.

Your Excellency, The President, Honourable Audience, the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia pays great attention to the production of food for its citizens and residents through the adoption of a national strategy to provide the main food items of plants and animal products. This strategy led in 2000 to an increase in the domestic agricultural product to SR43.6 billion (US$ 9.2 billion), compared to SR 32.2 billion (US$8.6 billion) in 1986. This had in turn spurred the contribution of the agricultural sector in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of non-oil sectors to increase by 10.3%. The agricultural sector, therefore, had been able to establish a solid foundation of food security, and had consequently contributed to the improvement of living standards, as the individual’s daily intake of energy reached 2904 calories, 77.5 grams of proteins and 75 grams of fat.

Your Excellency, the President, Honourable Audience. While maintaining the efforts to attain food security, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has never overlooked its humanitarian role in solidarity with the international community. It extended a helping hand to those suffering from poverty and deprivation in many countries around the globe. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has provided enormous financial resources for projects and development programs as an assistance to the developing countries.

The Kingdom’s aid to developing countries during the period from 1973 to 2000 amounted to US$ 75.5 billion, representing 4 percent of the annualized average of GDP. The Kingdom’s contribution to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) had amounted to US$ 370 million, in addition to providing soft development loans to assist the developing and underdeveloped countries. The Kingdom had, by the end of 2000, granted about US$ 7,026 million of loan, from which 65 countries had benefited. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had in a generous gesture and in an initiative to ease the burden of debts from developing countries, also cancelled its official loans to eleven developing countries. These loans amounted to US$6,000 million.

In field of food sufficiency, and the prevention of famine and malnutrition, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia continues to support annually the World Food Programme since its foundation in 1963. The total contribution by the end of 2000 amounted to US $405 million.

His Excellency the President of the Conference, Excellencies, at the end, I would like to reiterate the full support of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the FAO Trust Fund for Food Security and Food Safety. I would like also to extend my thanks and appreciation to your Excellency and to all members of this honourable audience, I sincerely hope that our Summit will reach its desired targets.

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