From the podium

From the podium

Mr Salem Al-Lozi (Director General Arab Organization for Agricultural Development - AOAD) (Original language Arabic)

Your Highnesses Presidents of States; Your Excellencies Heads of Delegations; Your Excellency Director-General, Food and Agriculture Organization; Ladies and Gentlemen.

It is my pleasure and honour to address this important international gathering on behalf of the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development (AOAD), which represents one of the organizations of the League of Arab States. We are meeting here today with the objective of reaching a common global vision on issues of hunger, poverty and food security, which, in our opinion, are key questions for all people and government of the world due to economical, social, political and humanitarian dimensions. For these issues, continuous efforts were made to alleviate poverty and enhance food security. but, in spite of all these efforts, a large portion of the world population still suffers from malnutrition as well as hunger and its related diseases. This is obviously due to various natural, economical and social factors in addition to political factors, wars and armed conflicts.

At the Arab World level, and in spite of the development witnessed in agricultural sectors, the region is exposed to most of the elements that adversely affect the production and provision of food, namely the scarcity of natural resources as well as climatic changes. The agricultural situation is further accentuated since production in the region depends mainly on rainfed traditional agricultural systems, and most of the animal wealth is under the traditional pastoral system which reflects poor level of productivity and production.

In the context of efforts to enhance food security, Arab states adopted packages of policies and programs aiming at promoting production and consumption of food commodities and facing the constraints of agricultural development in Arab countries. This included adoption of policies that address water scarcity problems, conservation of natural resources, improvement of dry land farming, adaptation and transfer of agricultural technologies, improvement of animals breeds, and in addition to policies that improve animal health and food safety.

The outcome of these efforts resulted in increasing the production of main food commodities and narrowing the production gap; especially for cereals, legumes, vegetables, fruits and meat. However, the gap is still significant for sugar, plant oil and milk.

Towards fulfilling those goals, the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development (AOAD) worked on coordinating the cooperation among Arab states in all agricultural domains and activities that lead to the development and conservation of natural resources, increase of production and exchange of agricultural commodities, improvement of agricultural research and supporting services and encouraging the establishment of agricultural and agro-industrial projects.

AOAD's main directives to enhance food security paths in the Arab region include achieving sustainable development, rational use of natural resources, improvement of food production and trade and encouragement of agricultural investments efforts. This is besides the establishing of databases, activate food security-related agricultural research and paying due attention to small producers, women in rural areas, and establishing strategic and emergency food reserves.

In this context, needless to emphasis that achieving food security at the global level requires the creation of a wide international alliance against hunger coupled with the serious initiation and methodological work to achieve peace and stability to all the peoples of the world, and bring high standards of collaboration with all developmental and financial organizations to utilise all their available capacities at increase food production through the rational use of resources and environment conservation. In this respect, the importance of sustaining natural resources and combat of desertification should be ensured, as stated in Abu Dhabi Declaration announced by Their Excellencies Arab Ministers of Agriculture at AOAD General Assembly in April 2002.

To conclude my brief statement, I take this opportunity to highly commend the close collaboration between AOAD and FAO in areas of common interest, which include information, combating cross-border diseases that threaten humans, animals and plant.

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