As Qatar, the UAE and other Gulf countries pour billions of dollars into farmland investments overseas, they should consider a simpler solution to their food security problems: tackling wastage at home, one agricultural expert has said.
According to Gulf News, some one-third of the waste generated in the UAE consists of discarded food.
Qatar, which wants to reduce its dependency on food imports by 2024, also faces this problem. More than half the municipal solid waste generated here is compostable, including leftover food and paper, the Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC) states.
Addressing the waste could prove to be a more eco-friendly strategy than importing produce grown from farms abroad, Nicholas Lodge, an agricultural expert at the Abu Dhabi-based consultancy, Clarity, told the National.
That GCC countries want to grow their own food at home is laudable, but water wastage is also taking its toll, he said:
“Eighty per cent of the water used in the region is for agriculture, which represents only two to five per cent of the GDP on average for GCC countries and only produces 5 to 15 per cent of the food requirements of the region.”
…”Food security is linked to the availability of water, which is only going to go from bad to worse. Water availability is expected to reduce by 50 per cent by 2050 and hit widespread acute levels in 2025. Yemen already practically has no water left.”