Sunday, 12 September 2010

Yemen to draft national strategy for food security

Source: Yemen’s official news agency (Saba)
By Adnan Abdullah, 12/09/2010
Yemen- In cooperation with relevant ministries and international economic organizations, Yemen's Ministry of Industry and Trade is about to finish drafting the national strategy of food security soon, Minister of Industry and Trade Yahya al- Mutawakel reported to 26 September weekly last week.

"The issue of food security is one of the main challenges facing the government, and the glob food crisis showed need of the state to review its policies related to the food security as the country depends basically on importing the main goods," al- Mutawakel said.

Regarding efforts exerted by the government to encourage investments as move to enhance the food security, the minister said that the ministry was working to finalize measures of setting up 11 industrial zones in the main cities across the country.

Currently, there are three industrial zones are open for investors in Aden, Hodeidah and Lahj provinces run by the Build-Operate-Transfer (B.O.T) system, al-Mutawakel said.

The B.O.T has now become an accepted tool of securing private-sector involvement in infrastructure projects and investment.

The minister said that the national strategy of the food security would be done soon to be presented to the cabinet for approval in coming period, adding that such strategy would be a tool to deal with issue of the food security.

He wished that the strategy would minimize the current gap between the production and consumption through adopting practice solutions.

Draft Paper on National Food Security Strategy
For its part, the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation published in February of this year a draft paper over the National.

According to the paper the motivation of preparing such paper is rooted in the general perception that the recent food crisis and global economic recession has been especially damaging for Yemen.

In addition, Yemen faces severe domestic challenges that affect food security, including a lack of job-creating growth within the oil-dependent economic structure, a distorted economic incentive system coupled with an inefficient social transfer system, rapidly depleting oil and water resources, and the growing production and consumption of Qat.

The paper provides an in-depth analysis of the current state of food security in the country, including the major challenges to food security and causes of food security, and suggests 18 priority areas for policy action.

The results of this paper suggest an alarming state of food insecurity at both macroeconomic and household levels.

At the household level, the paper shows that 32.1 percent of the population in Yemen is food insecure. In other words, almost one third of Yemenis, or 7.5 million people, are hungry and do not have enough food.

Results also indicate that 57.9 percent of all children are malnourished, thus hampering the future development of Yemen’s society and economy. In an international context, these results put Yemen among the ten most food insecure countries in the world.

Rural-urban inequalities are high in Yemen. The number of food insecure people living in rural areas is more than five times higher than in urban areas, with 37.3 percent rural compared to 17.7 percent urban food insecurity.

The paper says Yemen will increasingly rely on the international market for food imports, and must find effective and efficient mechanisms to ensure a steady supply of imports, especially in times of global crisis.

Based on these findings, the paper defines around 18 priority area that should be dealt with to improve the food security in the country.

The paper suggests accelerating job creation and pro-food secure growth in promising sectors, foster growth in rural areas, for example through development of secondary cities.

Moreover, the paper calls for encouraging non-oil exports, remittances and foreign direct investment as well as improving efficiency of social transfers to support the food insecure, and review existing subsidies.

The paper also suggests setting clear goals to be achieved by 2015 and 2020, such as to double macro food security and to cut household level food insecurity and child malnutrition by half.

The paper also insists on need of Yemen for further investments.

Food Security Risk Index 2010
According to the Food Security Risk Index 2010, Yemen was ranked at high risk in term of food security.

The Food Security Risk Index 2010, released by risk analysis and rating firm Maplecroft this month, evaluates the risks to the supply of basic food staples for 163 countries.
It uses 12 criteria developed in collaboration with the World Food Program, to calculate the ranking including: the nutritional and health status of populations, cereal production and imports, Gross Demotic Product per capita, natural disasters, conflict, and the effectiveness of government

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