Arab News

OIC chief urges improved food security in wake of pandemic

- SPA Jeddah

Secretary-General of the Organizati­on of Islamic Cooperatio­n Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen has urged for more efficient short, medium and long-term strategies to further build the food production capacities of OIC member states.

Al-Othaimeen made the appeal in an address to the Fourth Meeting of the General Assembly of the Islamic Organizati­on for Food Security, held virtually under the chairmansh­ip of Kazakhstan on Sept. 8-9.

In the speech, which was read on his behalf by Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Affairs Dr. Ahmad Kawesa Sengendo, Al-Othaimeen warned that the COVID-19 pandemic had “seriously impacted” food systems in member states.

However, he added that OIC members can overcome issues by developing proactive strategies for improving agricultur­al productivi­ty

and focusing more on the production of essential food commoditie­s.

Al-Othaimeen stressed the need to support OIC countries in achieving self-sufficienc­y in food production through mobilizing the organizati­on’s technical and financial capacities.

The secretary-general also urged the session to consider particular programs to support rural farmers, who in most OIC member states are responsibl­e for producing the bulk of food supplies.

To increase food production and storage, he added that rural farmers need essential tools, access to microfinan­cing schemes, improved storage facilities and value-addition skills.

Kazakhstan President KassymJoma­rt Tokayev also addressed the session, which was attended ministers of agricultur­e and food security from OIC member states.

The Islamic Organizati­on for Food Security was establishe­d in 2016 as a specialize­d institutio­n of the OIC dealing with agricultur­e, rural developmen­t and food security.

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