On May 26, 2021, Director-General of IOFS H. E. Yerlan Baidaulet made an appearance at the online ‘International Workshop on Food Security in GCC Countries’ organized by the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture of Saudi Arabia. He expressed appreciation to the members of the IOFS Executive Board, specifically, Mr. Abdulaziz Alhoweish and Mr. Essa Alhashmi for their sturdy and continuous support of IOFS programs and member countries. Mr. Baidaulet noted that IOFS has a strong relationship with many of the GCC countries and expressed hope that some of their members – Oman and Bahrain would join the organization in near future.
Food security has always been at the central focus of GCC states. Despite the high positions of the GCC states in the rankings of top food-secure countries, the global food crises observed in recent years prompted them to prioritize local food production. The COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, made food self-sufficiency the goal of utmost importance. This high-level workshop, therefore, provided the requisite platform for discussion of these food insecurity challenges. In his speech, the Director-General of IOFS noted the relevance of IOFS programmes to the current state of food insecurity spanning from humanitarian help to the employment of cutting-edge technology. Dr. Ismail Abdelhamid also took part in the event, introducing potential areas of collaboration within the IOFS programmes.
The workshop was attended by Deputy Ministers for Agriculture of the GCC countries, senior officials from the GCC countries, academia (international, regional and local), scientists from research centres, and focal persons from international and regional organizations. The event aimed to raise regional awareness about the importance of food security sovereignty, share and display successful cases of combating food insecurity, offer integrated food system solutions at the GCC level and determine areas for research and collaboration in the field.