‘Six-month food stock needed’ for security

Updated 07 January 2013
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‘Six-month food stock needed’ for security

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is not self-sufficient in most strategic food commodities because of limited water resources, a scarcity of arable land and the growing population, said Khalid Al-Rwais, supervisor of the King Abdullah Chair for Food Security.
In an interview with Al-Eqtisadiah newspaper, Al-Rwais stressed the fact that the Kingdom needs to establish a secure and strategic stock of basic commodities to avoid any future food crisis.
"The world is facing a significant shortage in basic food commodities accompanied by an increase in demand. This has led to a sharp rise in the prices of goods and food in general," said Al-Rwais.
He pointed to the problems caused over the past two years in many parts of the world by adverse natural conditions, the effects of climate change, drought and recurrent frost formation. This caused the destruction of large grain fields in some major agricultural countries such as Australia, China, Argentina and India, which in turn affected the supply of food grains and a resultant spike in global prices.
"It has become necessary for the Kingdom to achieve food security by maintaining a strategic stock of wheat, rice, vegetable oil, sugar, meat and poultry that is enough for domestic consumption for at least six months," he added. He said some countries exporting agricultural products impose high tariffs and set up restrictions on exports in times of shortages.
He said stocks are determined by local production, imports and agricultural investments abroad. He referred to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah's order to the Cabinet to ensure an adequate provision of food in the Kingdom in the short, medium and long term. This is to counter emergencies, in light of the unstable military, political and economic conditions in the Middle East.


Hodeidah offensive: Coalition forces seize weapons supplied by Iran to Houthis

Updated 20 June 2018
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Hodeidah offensive: Coalition forces seize weapons supplied by Iran to Houthis

  • The arsenal included drones, a sniper rifle, roadside bombs disguised as rocks and even a “drone boat” which had been filled with explosives that failed to detonate.
  • Equipment used to produce and load fuel for rockets that target Saudi Arabia contained Iranian labels.

JEDDAH: Saudi-led coalition officials on Tuesday displayed weapons and explosives supplied by Iran to Houthi militias in the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah. 

The arsenal included drones, a sniper rifle, roadside bombs disguised as rocks and even a “drone boat” which had been filled with explosives that failed to detonate.

Equipment used to produce and load fuel for rockets that target Saudi Arabia contained Iranian labels. The weapons were captured on the battlefield in Hodeidah and displayed at a military base in the UAE. 

“Unsurprisingly, there are advanced military components in the Houthi militias’ hands,” said Talal Al-Teneiji, an official at the UAE Foreign Ministry.

“We took time to inspect and disassemble these to figure out the source ... and we can say that these elements are military-grade materials imported from Iran to the Houthi militias.”

As the week-long offensive in Hodeidah intensified on Tuesday, coalition forces consolidated their grip on the city’s airport and there was new fighting on the main coast road leading to the city center, with Apache helicopters providing air support to the coalition. 

“We can hear the sounds of artillery, mortars and sporadic machinegun fire. The Houthis have been using tanks,” one civilian on the coastal strip said. 

“Water has been cut off to many of the areas near the corniche area because the Houthis have dug trenches and closed water pipes.”

At the airport, which the coalition has controlled since Saturday, their forces stormed the main compound and took full command.

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said: “We are waiting for the Houthis to realize the sort of military and psychological blow that they got with the airport ... we are giving them time to decide if they want to save the city ... and pull out.”

Oubai Shahbandar, a strategic communications adviser, told Arab News that “without the sea and airport of Hodeidah, the Houthi militia has effectively lost the war.”

They should agree to UN-hosted peace talks and not prolong the fighting. “The tide in this conflict has clearly turned in favor of the Arab coalition and the welfare of the Yemeni people ought to be paramount,” he said.