Pact signed to secure Oman's food security
July 9, 2019 | 5:14 PM
by Times News Service
The two organisations signed an agreement to cement their collaboration at The Research Council (TRC) headquarters on Innovation Park Muscat. - Supplied picture

Muscat: Oman Animal, Plant & Genetic Resources Centre (OAPGRC) and the Oman Food Investment Holding Company (OFIC) are set to work together on a series of food security related research and innovation activities and projects.

With the aim of maximising the immense potential of Oman’s genetic wealth in this globally important issue, the two organisations signed an agreement to cement their collaboration at The Research Council (TRC) headquarters on Innovation Park Muscat. Attending the signing ceremony was Dr Hilal Al Hinai, Director General, TRC and OFIC CEO Eng. Saleh Mohammed Al Shanfari as well as Dr Nadiya Al Saddy, OAPGRC Executive Director.

Noting the significant contribution the OAPGRC-OFIC agreement will play in safeguarding Oman’s long-term food security Dr Al Saady said: “Oman currently secures approximately 60 per cent of its food needs from international markets. However, growing demand for food from our increasing population means we need to look at how we can boost our self-sufficiency rates. And the native crops and animals that our farmers have cultivated and reared for generations are vital to this.”

“OAPGRC very much looks forward to the part this agreement will play in helping us make the most of our natural genetic assets and its role in protecting them as we develop their potential to meet our future food requirements.”

Acknowledging the key role the agreement will play in domestic food security OFIC CEO Eng. Saleh Mohammed Al Shanfari added: “This collaboration will also create value for Oman from our unique biodiversity. It will help strengthen our agricultural sector and food industries, generate sustainable jobs in related fields, and enhance our export offer.”

According to the OAPGRC-OFIC agreement, initiatives related to the conservation and preservation of Oman’s internationally significant genetic resources will be prioritised along with the compilation of databases and the development of related policies. The document also covers co-operation on consultancy, research and training as well as associated services and development. Importantly too the key issues of intellectual property rights and innovation are highlighted and going forward the two parties will also work together to facilitate international co-operation and encourage investment opportunities in Oman’s genetic wealth.

The Sultanate’s food self-sufficiency rate for 2020 as estimated by OFIC management is 80 per cent with 114 per cent for vegetables, 82 per cent for dates, 47 per cent for red meat, 48 per cent for poultry, 76 per cent for dairy, 45 per cent for eggs, zero percent for edible oil and 231 per cent for fish.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) calculates that world food production will have to increase by more than 75 per cent by 2050 to ensure food supplies for a global population of 9.6 billion people.

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