The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states on Thursday agreed to set up a unified food security network for the region to address the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The GCC countries, including Oman, are heavily dependent on food imports, and due to several restrictions imposed by several countries across the world to combat the coronavirus pandemic, concerns over unhindered supplies have been raised by many countries.
With a view to minimise the effects of COVID-19 on commercial activities and services in the region, a second extraordinary meeting of the GCC ministers of commerce via videoconferencing was held on Thursday. The sultanate was represented at the meeting by H E Dr Ali bin Masoud al Sunaidi, Minister of Commerce and Industry.
During this meeting, Kuwait suggested the setting up of the unified food security network for the GCC region to ensure uninterrupted supplies in the member countries in the backdrop of the global pandemic. All the members agreed to the proposal, Kuwaiti News Agency (KUNA) reported without giving further details about it.
During the meeting, the GCC ministers also discussed the economic impact of the global spread of COVID-19 on the GCC countries, the report said, adding that there would be more coordination meetings in this regard.
Due to unfavourable climate, limited water resources and arable land in the region, the GCC countries import around 85 per cent of their total food requirements, according to a report from regional investment banking firm Alpen Capital.