March 20,2019
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  • Press Interview with H.E. Dr. Fuad Bin Jaafar Al Sajwani – The Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries

    Press Interview with H.E. Dr. Fuad Bin Jaafar Al Sajwani – The Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries

    • The Sultanate of Oman joins the international community in its attention to the challenges facing the food security of countries and standing on the reality and future of agriculture and food in the world.
    • The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the agricultural and fishery sectors increased to OMR 530 million in 2017.
    • Arable land in the Sultanate is 5.5 million acres, of which 355 thousand acres in holdings.
    • The ministry is following the population growth and development of age groups to determine the size and type of future demand for food.
    • The Ministry is interested in improving production rates of Omani breeds of cattle, sheep, goats and poultry.
    • The total volume of fish production increased from (279.6) thousand tons in 2016 to about 348 thousand tons in 2017, with an annual growth rate of 24.3% .
    • The announcement of (91) initiatives and projects including commercial and occupational fishing, fish farming activity and fishery industries and exports
    • The ministry has (17) mobile veterinary clinics, (13) clinics sponsored by the Ministry at a cost of OMR (573000), and 4 clinics financed by the private sector companies.
    • Supervision of agricultural crops in the markets is the responsibility of the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources, Municipality of Muscat, Municipality of Sohar and Municipality of Dhofar.
    • It is the duties of the Ministry to follow farms and barns within the country to verify the safety of production within the farm.
    • We have a law aims at regulating the production, importation and circulation of fertilizers called (Law of Fertilizers and Agricultural Soil Improvers) promulgated by Royal Decree No. 63/2006 and its implementing regulations issued by Ministerial Decision No. 128/2010.
    • There were irregularities about the non-application of the Fertilizer Law and they were resolved, and they were not too big to worry about
    • The Ministry has given due attention to water management and in coordination with the relevant government bodies; It has sought to improve the efficiency of water use at the farm level and increase its efficiency and reduce wastage.
    • The Ministry adopts a project of (Development of Traditional Farm Systems) for the development of agricultural villages.
    • Aquaculture techniques (hydroponic) have been introduced and disseminated to farmers, especially for the production of vegetables, fruits and fodder.
    • There are ongoing efforts to establish an integrated fishery industries zone in DUQM
    • The establishment of the largest coral reef marine farm in the Middle East in the province of Suwaiq has been initiated.
    • Efforts to combat hunger face new challenges imposed by political conflicts and about 815 million people suffer from chronic hunger in the world.

    The interview was conducted by / Bader Bin Mahfoodh Al Qasmi Editor-in-chief (General supervisor)

    Agriculture and fisheries are vital sectors supporting the national economy in terms of their active contribution to diversifying sources of income, boosting non-oil domestic output, creating jobs, achieving social stability and enhancing food security in the Sultanate. Arable land in the Sultanate is 5.5 million acres, of which 355 thousand acres are in possession. There is an estimated animal wealth of about 3.5 million sheep, goats, cattle and camels.

    The Sultanate’s coastline is approximately (3,165) km, the fish stock is estimated at about 7.6 million tons, and the exploitable amount is approximately 2.3 million tons, representing 30% of the total. The amount of fish production exploited by the end of 2017 was about 348 thousand tons; or 15% of the total exploitable amount.
    The Ministry’s efforts to achieve the agriculture and fish sectors yielded good indicators by the end of 2017, with the total value of Gross Development Product (GDP) for the two sectors rising from OMR 495 million in 2016 to OMR 530 million in 2017, achieving a growth rate of 7.1%. Besides, they contribute about 23.7%. From the value of the Sultanate’s nutritional needs. These indicators indicate significant potential for growth of the two sectors, increasing their contribution to GDP, economic diversification and job creation.

    The Ministry has intensified its interest in investing in large projects for the agricultural sector in order to achieve an increase in food production in the coming period, as the number of projects of the Investment Plan (17) projects in the stages of implementation and establishment or study with total production and manufacturing capacity of about 1.4 million tons and expected increase 89% on the production in 2017.
    The importance of the fisheries sector as one of the most promising and targeted sectors of the current five-year plan has been completed and its experiments have been implemented within the national program for the promotion of economic diversification (implementation) and its results have resulted in 91 projects and initiatives, which are being implemented during the period from 2018 to 2023, it is expected that a new production of about (1,400) thousand tones will be achieved progressively through 2023, (1.3) thousand tons of sea fishing and (100) thousand tons of fish farming, with an increase of 302% on the production of 2017.
    In this context, the Health and Safety magazine held a press interview with H.E. Dr. Fuad Bin Jaafar Al Sajwani, the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries , who kindly answered the questions of the magazine and elaborated some of the important topics about capacities of the Ministry of Agriculture and its institutional role and enhancing its readiness to meet the challenges in cooperation with the concerned authorities in order to achieve its objectives in enhancing the contribution of agricultural, fisheries and livestock in economic and social development, raise the value added of products, achieve export growth and improve internal marketing.

    The global concern is to create a sustainable food security system. In light of this, what are the ministry’s future plans to provide a safe umbrella for food security in Oman?

    The issue of food security in the Sultanate is of interest to the good government and the Omani society in general, and this concern has been reflected in the five-year development plans, and the Sultanate has achieved achievements in this area, most notably the increase in the gross domestic product value of the agricultural and fish sectors to (530) million Omani riyals in 2017, achieving an annual growth rate (7.1%). Besides, they contribute about 24.7% from the value of the Sultanate’s nutritional needs.

    The Ministry’s strategic directions for the food security system include increasing the production of plant, animal and fishery goods, expanding internal and external investments that complement goods that cannot be produced within the Sultanate, improving the storage capacity of commodities and expanding the geographical area for strategic inventory, follow-up and monitoring of production, markets and world prices of major food commodities through the system of early warning and extrapolation of price indices, follow-up of population growth rates and development of age groups to determine the size and type of future demand for food, to follow the development of food consumption patterns for population groups and to link them to production and import liberalization.

    The Ministry also seeks to activate the role of the private sector and its participation in the productive process and to follow a mechanism commensurate with the current situation in the implementation and management of investment projects. The Ministry is also implementing a vision for external investment that has identified complementary areas for domestic investment, where the interest in the production of dry green feeds and forage grains is integrated with dairy production and processing projects, red meat production, poultry meat and existing table eggs or under establishment within the Sultanate.

    Is there a future look at how to take advantage of advanced technology in the agricultural field that can contribute to the higher levels in order to achieve the food security system?

    Yes for sure, we must employ modern and advanced technologies that are suitable for our Omani environment at all stages of the production, manufacturing and marketing of all kinds of food. This is what the ministry is doing, through experts and specialists from its employees working in the General Directorates of agricultural development, fishery resources development, agricultural and animal research and fishery research, and directorates in all governorates and agricultural and fishery development centers, which are scattered in Sultanate states (wilayats), fishing ports, landing sites, agricultural and veterinary quarries.

    The ministry has implemented many programs and projects of extension, awareness, technical and technical support to producers, to modernize and develop agricultural and fishery production systems and to enhance their productivity, as well as to post-production services (harvest, reaping and fishing), for example in the field of agricultural/plant production was done:

    • Testing and introduction of hydroponic techniques and their dissemination to farmers, especially for the production of vegetables, fruits and fodders.
    • Aquaponics techniques where freshwater fish production is integrated with the production of vegetables and suitable crops include leaves to achieve the highest utilization of water and diversification of farm products in order to increase farm income and increase productivity.
    • Deployment of protected agriculture units.
    • Dissemination of agricultural mechanization techniques in order to reduce the cost and raise the quality of the plant product…. And others

    In the field of animal production: The ministry, through guidance and animal technical support, works on the development of the livestock sector, where the guidance carries out the functions of communicating ideas and technical information, obtained from the results of applied animal research, including the use of modern techniques and methods in The process of care, education, nutrition, shelter, health, quality control, marketing and other processes necessary for the development of livestock productivity in small-scale breeders in particular.

    The ministry’s researchers and specialists are working to improve the production rates of Omani breeds of cows, sheep and goats, as well as poultry, improve fodder and fattening methods, control and reduce the spread of infectious diseases. The Ministry’s specialists also encourage investors and owners of small and medium-sized enterprises to apply the best technologies appropriate to the Omani environment in their production, manufacturing and marketing projects when they are established. The Ministry has granted technical licenses for the initiation of productive business, for example, during 2017, a total of 180 feasibility studies for livestock projects were evaluated and a total of 105 poultry projects were studied. A total of 55 feasibility studies were approved, (36) for poultry projects, 2 for dairy projects and 1 for table chickens, and in an easily invested program, 370 licenses were issued for livestock projects.

    In the Fisheries field:
    The fisheries studies and research carried out by the Ministry’s research centers are diversified to include biological studies, fish stock assessment, marine environmental studies, ocean sciences, marine fishing techniques and equipment, fish farming research and product quality to support marketing programs to ensure increased value added and maximize income from the fishery sector.

    Thus, the efforts of researchers to transfer and localize modern technologies suitable for the Omani environment and compatible with the needs of farmers, breeders and fishermen, are reflected in the improvement of production and performance development. Continuing with these successes and to strengthen the Ministry’s efforts and sustainability, its strategies and plans, in all its short, medium and long term, have included programs and projects that apply new innovations and technologies that contribute to higher levels of the food security system.

    According to recent indications, fisheries in the Sultanate was exploited only by 3%… In light of it, what is the future view of the Ministry to maximize the national income from this wealth?

    Oman has a long coastline and estimates the living mass of the fish stock at about 7.6 million tons, the exploitable amount of which is about 2.3 million tons, representing a percentage 30%. The amount of fish production exploited by the end of 2017 was about 348 thousand tons, i.e. 15% of the total exploitable amount. During the five-year plans, fisheries received considerable support and attention because of its social importance and as a cornerstone of economic development and its renewable resources under the scientifically reasonable management of these resources.

    In view of the productive components, the sector owns nearly 23,000 professional fishing boats, 700 professional fishing vessels and 134 coastal fishery vessels, 4,000 fish transport and marketing vehicles, 650 marketing outlets, 60 fish markets and 24 sea-ports by the end of the year 2017.
    The total volume of fish production increased from (279.6) thousand tons in 2016 to about (348) thousand tons in 2017, with an annual growth rate of 24.3%, which is high according to the global rankings. Professional fishing achieved a high output of 344 thousand tons that was 98.96% of total fishing size for 2017, with an average annual growth of about 12% since 2011.

    Despite these high results, work is continuing, and we look forward to a greater increase in the sector’s contribution to GDP, increased production, improved incomes and income for workers and sectors and their profits, and the creation of new jobs. Within the program for the promotion of economic diversification (Implementation), the Ministry organized the establishment of fishery laboratories in cooperation with the implementation and follow-up support unit during the last quarter of 2017. The laboratories, which has been contributed by more than 100 participants from various sectors and governmental and private institutions, have been able to diagnose the challenges, find appropriate solutions and develop a clear map of the course of achievement and achieve them with the concerted efforts and commitment of all in the framework of the program for the promotion of economic diversification.

    The work of the laboratories culminated in the announcement of the (91) initiatives and projects, which included three main activities, namely commercial and professional fishing, fish farming activity and the activity of fish industries and exports. It is expected to increase the volume of production and the growth rate of professional fishing and fish farming as a result of the entry of investment companies in these areas that began in 2018 and is expected to provide new production of about 1400 thousand tons to be achieved gradually until 2023, including 1,300 tons of sea fishing and (100) thousand tons of fish farming, achieving increase by 302% on the production of 2017. The Ministry also contributes to support small and medium-sized enterprises in various fisheries activities and investments.

    Does the Sultanate face a real danger in the problem of desertification, and if so, what are the ministry’s efforts in treatment, what kind of desertification is the dominant ratio, and are the plans to overcome this type of desertification?

    It is known that the Sultanate because of its location, geographical and climatic nature, the Sultanate is ranked among the countries facing the challenge of desertification. According to the global definition of desertification (United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), 1992), the Sultanate is mostly very dry and (95.8% of its area is desert from the climatic point of view and is affected by the above-average desertification).

    The main causes of desertification in the Sultanate of Oman is that its climate is characterized by low rainfall, high temperatures and storm surges in different periods leading to the encroachment of sand and soil erosion, the scarcity of water, which is considered one of the most important natural resources and the movement of sand, especially in the vicinity of the eastern sands and plains and the interior valleys and the central and southern regions as well as overgrazing.
    In general, some soils in the sultanate are characterized by superficial shallower, with the exception of some areas such as Al Batinah plain, Salalah and specific areas of Al Dakhiliya and Najd, which makes them susceptible to erosion and corrosion. National efforts to combat desertification are diverse and comprehensive, and work continues through the joint committees and events of the relevant government agencies.

    For example, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs, the National Strategy for the protection of the Omani environment, and in one of its chapters a presentation of the most important manifestations and causes of desertification and desert encroachment and suggested appropriate solutions to address this problem according to their locations, work is underway and the tasks are divided between institutions both governmental or private to do all its duty.

    With regard to the role of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, and given the fact that rangelands play a prominent role in preserving land, stabilizing soils, halting desertification and maintaining the balance and sustainability of wildlife, the Ministry is making efforts to develop and sustain pastoral resources and implement the national strategic axes for the promotion of natural pastures and the sustainable development of livestock. The objective of the strategy is to manage and balance natural pastures with livestock.

    What are the ministry’s efforts in livestock development, and are there clear plans on how to develop this wealth amid growing population and consumerism?

    God gives Oman a variety of animal wealth, where there is an animal fortune of about 3.5 million sheep, goats, cows and camels. In addition to poultry.
    Among the tasks of the Ministry is to deliver ideas and technical information and work on the use of modern techniques and methods in the processes of care, education, nutrition, shelter, health, quality control, marketing and other processes necessary for the development of livestock productivity, especially for small breeders, and practical training on some animal husbandry operations, seminars and brochures. The total volume of animal production, including red meat, poultry meat, milk and table eggs, rose from 245 thousand tons in 2016 to 274 thousand tons in 2017, with an annual growth rate of about 12%, mostly due to the activation of the investment activity of poultry meat and egg production.

    Technical and advisory support services have been provided to livestock breeders, poultry and concentrated feed factories, and technical consultations in the field of livestock breeding, poultry breeding and care, and the manufacture of milk and meat products. During 2017, a total of 285 technical and economic feasibility studies for livestock and poultry projects were evaluated. A technical and economic feasibility study was approved for poultry projects, dairy processing and table chickens that will contribute to increased production.

    In the field of animal research, efforts continued to improve the production rates of Omani breeds of cows, sheep, goats and chickens, improve fodder and fattening methods, control and reduce the spread of transmissible diseases.

    Veterinary quarries are the first line of defense and the main pillar of the preventive system for the prevention of trans boundary epidemics and infectious diseases affecting humans and livestock, which may be released into the country by animals or live birds or even their products or residues.The quarries have an important role in ensuring the health safety of food and its being free of food poisoning microbes, contaminants or any harmful substances that may affect human health.

    The duties and tasks of the quarries proceedings are carried out by a specialized cadre of more than (80) veterinarians and technicians, where the veterinary quarry network covers all the ports of the Sultanate of sea, air and land to the number of (16) veterinary quarries between the offices of veterinary quarantine at border crossings and veterinary quarries to shelter imported animals, In addition to the veterinary quarantine office at the container terminal in the logistics city of Barka.

    The Ministry is concerned with the care and protection of livestock from diseases and epidemics of animals and common, and is working to develop the infrastructure and veterinary preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic services that it provides to breeders to ensure the safety of livestock and their products and the health of society through the system of integrated veterinary services.

    The ministry established the Mobile Veterinary Clinics project, which entered the service at the end of 2014 and consists of (17) mobile veterinary clinics, (13 clinics sponsored by the Ministry at a cost of OMR (573000), and 4 clinics financed by private sector companies), each of which equipped with a four wheel car and an air-conditioned rear cabin equipped with all diagnostic, treatment, immunization and surgical procedures. Each car has a medical team consisting of a veterinarian, a veterinary technician, a worker and a driver.

    The National livestock Fortification Project is one of the most important pillars of the national strategy to combat animal epidemics, with a total of 25 teams working in the annual immunization program and the program is supported by additional teams of veterinary staff in veterinary clinics. For example, during 2017, animals with a number (3,554,744) were vaccinated by doses of different vaccines for economic farm animals (cattle, goats, sheep and camels), benefiting (48,252) breeders.

    In the light of the increasing incidence of toxicity in some agricultural crops… What are the ministry’s efforts to curb this phenomenon? How can the shortage be addressed under the shadow of damage in large quantities?

    On the agricultural crops consumed in the country and offered in wholesale markets and mainly the Central Market for fruits and vegetables in Al Mawaleh /Muscat Governorate, Sohar Market, Dhofar Market and other markets in the governorates, they come from two sources: the first local products (Omani) and the second imported products, all of which are subject to conditions and checks to ensure that they do not exceed the maximum limits of the residues contained in the Pesticide Act and its implementing regulations, the Food Safety Act and its implementing regulations.

    The supervision and management of the markets is the responsibility of the competent authorities in the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources, the Municipality of Muscat, the Municipality of Sohar and the Municipality of Dhofar, depending on the jurisdiction and venue, and therefore the procedures and practices related to the management of these markets rests with these entities, including the adoption of legal procedures in respect of violators of laws and regulations in force in the state. The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries is also carrying out its duties on the follow-up of farms and barns within the country to verify the safety of production within the farm, thus the roles of production integrate until the food reaches the final consumer.

    At times of excesses of some farmers and producers or marketers of agricultural crops, especially vegetables and fruits, the ministry with other government agencies implement the Fertilizer and Agricultural Soil Improvers Act promulgated by Royal Decree No. 63/2006 and its implementing regulations issued by Ministerial Decree No. 128/2010, which aims to regulate production, importation and circulation of fertilizers and agricultural soil improvers in the Sultanate, to ensure food safety and quality and not to harm consumer’s health.
    There have been irregularities in the last period that have been addressed, and in fact they were not of great concern, but because of the seriousness of its impact on consumer‘s health and its effects on reputation of the Omani product or denigration of the country’s monitoring, follow –up and quarantine system, the ministry gives the highest degree of interest in all events of this kind.

    The Ministry organizes educational and extension seminars and workshops for farmers, farm owners and marketers to encourage them to cooperate in the production of healthy and sound food according to the criteria, the seriousness of the excesses and their effects, and to explain the penalties and legal sanctions provided by the law, as well as competent teams from the ministry make periodic unannounced visits to farms through inspection and supervision rounds (as well as factories, supply companies and trade of fertilizers and pesticides. etc.) to take samples and analyze the residues in the products before they are marketed, and legal actions are taken towards violators and penalties in accordance with the above mentioned laws.

    Certificates supporting the safety of local export product are issued in accordance with standards of production and safety used by concerned international organizations and markets requirements exported to them, especially neighboring countries. The central laboratory initiated and operated by the ministry through partnership with the specialized private sector, will play an important role in examination and analysis of samples of various types of food, both for local consumption or exportation, and high quality cards that absorb current expansion in production and expected in near future.

    The Ministry strives to activate oversight role for animal products safety, noting that during these years there has been steady increase in the number of private sector enterprises in field of animal’s health and livestock in various activities. Despite the topic importance and need for monitoring and follow-up in a strict and continuous manner, cases are limited, precautions are appropriate and the ministry seeks to develop working mechanisms with help of citizens.

    How are imported quantities containing non-conforming toxicity levels are processed?

    For imported products, if they are found to exceed the limits of pesticide residues and violate the Pesticides Act and its implementing regulations, as well as their violation of the Food Safety Act and its implementing regulations, the Ministry and the competent government authorities are taking legal action towards violators of laws and regulations in force in the country. The ministry confirms that it continues to exert maximum efforts in the management of pesticide residues in farm crops as well as in agricultural crops that are imported or exported. We are confident that these efforts will be crowned with success and will reap fruits with the cooperation of all stakeholders with citizens, and we will continue to do so in order to reach the desired level of management, in a stable and sustainable manner.

    In light of the scarcity of water, the shortage of rainfall in some areas, and the constant suffering in this… Are there any plans for the ministry to increase the number of dams?

    Dams are not a specialty of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, but since water is one of the basic and specific elements for the development and sustainability of agricultural and livestock production systems in the Sultanate, the Ministry has given necessary attention to water management and in coordination with the relevant government bodies, and sought to improve efficiency of water use at farm level and increase efficiency and reduce wastage, through implementation of a number of measures and practices, aiming at rationalizing use of groundwater and falajs water as constituting about 70% and 30%, according to the order of total water used in agricultural sector.

    Until 2040, the strategy for sustainable agriculture and rural development was to promote sustainable management of natural resources in agriculture, primarily water for its importance and the need to maintain the available water balance by increasing the economic return per unit of water used in agriculture, enhancement of water collection techniques used in agriculture and reuse and increase storage capacity. In addition to that, improving soil fertility and conserving agricultural biodiversity.

    This has been translated into several programs and projects, for example, introduction of modern irrigation systems project: The project involves replacement of low-efficiency (immersion) traditional irrigation systems with modern irrigation systems, including sprinkler, fountain and high-efficiency drip irrigation systems. The project is responsible for rationalizing the use of water and contributing to the processing of its shortage, through which more than 40% of water losses can be maintained, accompanying traditional irrigation systems.

    The Ministry has also adopted the project (development of traditional farm systems) for the development of agricultural villages, which depend entirely on the water of falajs as a primary source of irrigation water. The project aims to address the water scarcity in falajs, reduce water wastage through its channels, and develop management of water distribution system and decrease time and effort in irrigation of crops. The idea of the project is to assemble water of falajs in reservoirs and then pump it to the farms through an integrated connection of modern irrigation systems, which reflects positively on the efficiency of water use, increasing the area of agricultural land, increasing the productivity of the unit of space and improving farm income.

    Amid growing quality agriculture and some agricultural land is shrinking… What are the ministry’s plans to introduce hydroponics technology? Where does it stand to provide guidance and support to producers?

    The ministry has implemented many programs and projects to modernize and develop agricultural and fishery production systems and enhance their productivity, for example in the field of agricultural/plant production, aquaculture techniques (hydroponic) have been introduced and disseminated to farmers, especially for the production of vegetables and fruits and fodder.

    As well as the diffusion of developmental techniques (Aquaponics), where freshwater fish production is integrated with the production of vegetables and appropriate crops with leaves, to achieve the highest utilization of water and diversification of farm products in favor of increasing the income of farmer and raising productivity.

    Are there any plans to access the food processing in the integrated importance of plant and animal sections?

    The ministry is making fruitful efforts to encourage and motivate companies and the private sector to invest in agricultural projects, whether plant or animal, and in this context the government has established Oman Food Investment Holding Company, which is the investment arm of food projects.

    Four specialized companies have been established, two of which to produce and manufacture cattle and camel milk in both the north and south of the Sultanate, another company specializing in poultry production and one in red meat production, in addition to the existence of projects being implemented by the private sector, which is mainly a project for the production of table eggs implemented by Omani Mills Company, the production of these projects is expected to contribute to raise self-sufficiency of animal products, and the preparation of 4 specialized feasibility studies for marketing and processing of dates and the manufacture of dates secondary products such as fodder and timber, and Oman Food Investment Holding Company adopted a study of manufacturing and filling dates, the company was inaugurated at the beginning of 2018 AD.

    The number of the main projects is (17) in agricultural and livestock sectors. They are in the implementation, establishment or study stages, and it is expected that a new production of about 3,313.3 million tons of agricultural and livestock commodities will be produced, with an increase of 115% of food production in 2017.
    As for fisheries projects, the outputs of the economic diversification program (implementation) include (91) projects and initiatives, which are expected to provide new production of about 1.3 million tons of marine fishing and about 235 thousand tons of fish farming, in addition to other new projects under implementation that are expected to produce (38) thousand tons, and thus a new production of about (1,573) million tons is achieved gradually until 2023AD, thus the expected new increases will be about 452% from these of 2017.

    There are ongoing efforts to establish an integrated fishery area in DUQM and work has begun on the establishment of the largest coral reef marine farm in the Middle East in Suwaiq (province).

    According to global reports, food security is facing a bleak future amid growing armed conflicts and natural disasters. How do you see from a personal point of view the issue of food security under conditions in the foreseeable future?

    No doubt Oman shares the international community’s interest in the challenges facing the food security of countries, the reality and future of agriculture and food in the world and its role in finding practical solutions to those challenges at the global, regional and national levels, and we have many stops with our partners from Omani institutions, regional and international organizations, as well as through international cooperation, where we contribute to ideas, proposals and actions aimed at achieving food security for peoples.

    We had a close pause in October 2018 during the annual celebration of World Food Day, which was held under the slogan “Eradicating hunger in 2030 is possible”, a scourge that has misled individuals, families, communities and countries across human history and continues to persist and is worsening, especially in poor and least developed countries, as well as their high impact on rural complexes.

    We have emphasized that efforts in the fight against hunger are facing new challenges posed by political conflicts, increasing numbers of refugees, worsening migration within and outside countries, increasing numbers of the world’s population, climatic changes and their negative repercussions on food production and global and regional food security, all of which have contributed to the exacerbation of chronic hunger and malnutrition, which is reinforced by statistics and facts indicating that one in nine people suffers from chronic hunger, and there are about 815 million chronically hungry people in the world.

    So everyone must cooperate with the institutional orientation of the elimination hunger as a moral and humanitarian responsibility in the first place, as the right to eat is a human rights imperative, and governments, organizations, companies, civil society organizations and others must join to work in a coordinated, integrated and diligent effort to transfer knowledge, exchange experiences and work for optimum exploitation of resources, the preparation of innovative program, the development of new specified opportunities, the reduction of wastage and the adoption of healthy diets.

    The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has recognized the importance of activating agricultural and fishery investments, with the participation of the public and private sectors, to supplement the efforts to achieve food security in the country, and the efforts to study, establish and implement about 17 large new companies in the agricultural sector and about (91) projects and initiatives in the fisheries sector, the development, monitoring and implementation of 34 projects in the fishery sector and 23 projects in the agricultural sector through the establishment of the Committee on agricultural investments in fisheries (Tamkeen) in 2016 and efforts continue to activate its tools that are reliable in the realization of new movements in food sustainable systems, as we have explained in our conversation above.

    I am confident that the efforts and hard work of the international community in its national, regional and international institutions to address the challenges facing food production, its safety and access to consumers in quantities and the appropriate nutritional value will continue, especially if activities are intensified and each of its signatories participates in events that it is agreed and in coordination with other partners, and ask Almighty God to help us to continue to serve the good of Oman and all the brothers and friends in the world enlightened by the lucid thought and guidance of the wise leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, may Allah protect him.

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