Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFS) Helping the Member States Address the Crisis

Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFS) Helping the Member States Address the Crisis
19 May 2023
Astana: 27 April 2023 – The international journalists while visiting the capital city Astana of Republic of Kazakhstan also had a briefing at Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFS) that is working by OIC in the Muslim World. Its head office is in Astana where Professor Yerlan A. Baidaulet, Director General and his team warmly welcomed the media group from different countries.
The DG is MBA in Banking & Finance, University KIMEP – 1995-1997, Almaty.Postgraduate program MAPOW, St.Gallen University (Certificate with the internship in Credit Suisse) – 1993-1994, Switzerland.PhD study, Economic Institute of the Academy of Sciences of Kazakhstan (08.00.01 – Political Economy) –1992-1993. BCs in History and Political Economy (Diploma with Honors), Al-Farabi Kazakhstan National University –1987-1992, Almaty, Kazakhstan.
He apprised the journalists about the projects and achievements of IOFS with the help of multi media. Ms Aishan Mukazhanova PR Manager distributed printed material containing the information in detail.
According to available information , IOFS is the initiative of the Republic of Kazakhstan as on June 8, 2011, during the 7th session of the World Islamic Economic Forum in Astana, the need for a specialized food security entity within the Organization of Islamic Cooperation was announced. Due to the state of food insecurity and hunger in many Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the initiative of creating a specialized institution was considered relevant and timely.
At the 76th UN General Assembly the President of Kazakhstan reaffirmed his support: «The World Food Program estimates that 270 million people will face food shortages this year. Kazakhstan is a major grain producer and exporter and a founding member of the Islamic Organization for Food Security, whose fourth General Assembly was held last month in our capital. We invite foreign investors to join us in shaping a better, brighter future for sustainable agriculture.
Main mission of the org is to assure sustainable food security in member states.Key objectives of the org are to provide expertise and technical know-how to member states on various aspects of sustainable agriculture, rural development, food security, and biotechnology. To assess and monitor the state of food security in member states to be able to identify emergencies, provide social safety nets and humanitarian assistance through food security reserves etc.
IOFS is a unique arrangement between the member nations where every country is represented by at least one of its organization that is working on the particular subject and has specialized experts, apparatus and projects in agriculture, research and technology. Thus the resources and abilities are shared at one plate form to benefit maximum from the collective intellect and wisdom.
COMSTECH the Ministerial Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation of the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) of Pakistan is the member of this organization. He knows about Agriculture universities of Pakistan. He also has information about Pakistan Agricultural Research Council and National Agricultural Research Council . Director General and his team participated in IOFS -COMSTECH -PARC 3 day expert meeting on Climate Resilient Wheat Crop Improvement for Food Security in Islamabad.
The Director General has an initial technical virtual meeting with COMSTECH team held on 16 August 2022 and upon his instruction, a delegation of (IOFS) composed by Dr. Ismail Abdelhamid, Director of Program & Projects Office, and Mr. Abdula Manafi Mutualo, Senior Liaison Officer, visited (COMSTECH) in Islamabad on 12 Sep 2022. The two sides agreed that the focus of joint work would be the scientific and sustainable development perspectives of addressing the challenges of food insecurity in Africa within the common areas found in the five pillars of the IOFS 2031 Strategic Vision, which is to be materialized in an MoU and Plan of Action to be soon signed by the leadership of both Institutions.
The organization is working with a special focus on two progrms that are related to Afghanistan and Africa. Food crisis is challenging the life at both places and more efforts are needed to address the threat of deaths of the people there due to hunger and malnutrition. Pakistan is contributing in both progrms to the initiatives of IOFS as a responsible member of the organization. The Director General appreciated the role of Pakistan in this regard.
Pakistan hosted 17th Extraordinary CFM on the Humanitarian Situation in Afghanistan in Dec 2021 in which a comprehensive Resolution was adopted by the participating Member States, which launched an “Afghanistan Food Security Program” and identified the IOFS for taking necessary efforts for the implementation of this program. On 15 April 2023,, Director General (IOFS), arrived Kabul, to commence the program there.Kazakhstan generously supported this program. Director General of IOFS handed over a certificate to the ARCS President, Mawlawi Mutiul Haq Khales, as a symbolic sign for initiating the distribution of the first IOFS Humanitarian Food Convoy to Afghanistan, which icomposed  of 280 tons of wheat, and infant supplies.
Africa is facing pressing challenges of food security and agricultural development. 2022 was declared as “IOFS Year of Africa”, which was marked with the convening of diverse activities in different OIC Member States, including Niger, Nigeria, Tunisia, and Türkiye. International ORGs reported the drastic situation of food insecurity in 11 OIC Member States in Africa, namely Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Mozambique, Lebanon and Yemen, bringing the total amount of affected people to around 66 million. IOFS has to assure food systems in Sub-Saharan Africa would receive proper attention so that people across the region could have access to food.
On the 10th of April 2023 an online bilateral meeting was held between the Islamic Organization for Food Security and the Republic of the Sudan.
On May 15, 2023, the IOFS Director General H.E. Yerlan Baidaulet delivered a keynote address to open the expert meeting on Integrated Water Resources Management Plan for Niger (IWRMP) in Niamey.
IOFS is working on “Build your own agri-business” for Africa’s Youth and Women Entrepreneurs. This program would be a competition aimed at supporting youth and women start-up entrepreneurs. Anyone (till 35 years of age) would be invited to apply for participation on three stages by i) producing/shooting a short video about the competing project; ii) presenting a business plan; and iii) passing an interview. After analyzing the process, 10 of them are to be selected to compete at the final of the competition.
The road show “The Boosting Food Chain” Roadshow of IFPA Representatives is to take the form of a tour of African countries (OIC Member States) in a time span of 1-2 weeks. IFPA Members would meet potential members and manufacturers, leading agri-food companies, presenting their achievements and talking about relationships with suppliers, customers, competitors, etc.
Coming back to Pakistan and IOFS, the Director General said, ” Pakistan is very near to Kazakhstan but we do not have direct flights. Pakistan has vast experiences in agriculture and food sector. We can work together to accomplish the task of food security in our countries and regions. Joint ventures in crops cultivation are possible between Pakistan and Kazakhstan.”
This scribe shared that other than increasing the food production and agricultural research for better seeds and healthy crops, we also need to save the land of agriculture from construction and housing industries. Fertile lands should be banned for any construction of large scale or from turning into industrial or real estate lands. The farmers need not only the cheap and healthy seed but also the better price for their crops. Major part of the price is taken away by the middle men in the markets. Industrialization and Constructions for real estate or housing purposes should be limited to non agricultural lands only.