July 20, 2014
Manama: The Economic Development Board (EDB) has today launched a white paper to assess Bahrain’s food security environment. Using the well-known Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) food security index methodology, the EDB has been able to identify complex elements that influence food security in Bahrain and the Kingdom’s unique strengths and weaknesses and, in doing so, informing the debate and elevating the issue with policymakers and business decision makers.
The results of the EDB analysis demonstrate that Bahrain has a good environment for food security which is mainly driven by the Kingdom’s ability to stabilise food prices, secure imports, and operate advanced food safety and monitoring systems. In fact, Bahrain’s highest performance is on the affordability of food is largely the result of low percentage spending on food relative to total household expenditure, as well as the universal subsidy programme used to stabilise the prices of essential food items. Bahrain also boasts a daily food energy supply per capita per day of 2,829 kcal, significantly above the recommended average of 2,300 kcal by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
However, the agricultural sector has attracted rising concern and development focus due to uncertainty triggered by the supply shocks experienced globally during the last five years and the ever-increasing price index for food items. In Bahrain specifically, agricultural production has historically been constrained by the Kingdom’s climate and geography. To address this issue the government has been able to disburse increasing funds on agriculture research and development initiatives targeting smart space management and irrigation systems. Imports have also been secured through strategic trading links and by providing efficient infrastructure for delivery and distribution of products.
H.E. Kamal bin Ahmed, Minister of Transportation and Acting Chief Executive of the EDB, said commented on the white paper saying:
“Food security is an increasingly important issue, not just for the Gulf and Middle East region but for the entire global economy as the world’s population continues to rapidly expand. Ensuring that food is attainable and affordable there is enough food and that it is affordable is very much at the top of Bahrain’s policy agenda. This research not only effectively evaluates Bahrain’s position and confirms the Kingdom’s good environment for food security, but also looks at measures taken by government to secure food production and distribution channels. It is the ambition of this white paper to inform debate and encourage discussion around new ways to build on Bahrain’s performance.”
About The EDB
The EDB is a dynamic public agency with an overall responsibility for attracting inward investment into Bahrain, and is focusing on target economic sectors in which the Kingdom offers significant strengths.
Key areas of focus include manufacturing, ICT, and logistics and transport services as well as other sub-sectors. The Financial Services sector in Bahrain is particularly strong and the EDB supports in the continuing growth of the banking industry and key sub-sectors, including Islamic Finance, Asset Management, Insurance and Re-Insurance.
For more information on the EDB visit www.bahrainedb.com; for information about Bahrain visit www.bahrain.com
Bahrain Economic Development Board
Tel: +973 17 589 966