RIYADH: Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen has urged for more efficient short, medium and long-term strategies to further build the food production capacities of OIC member states.
Al-Othaimeen made the appeal in an address to the Fourth Meeting of the General Assembly of the Islamic Organization for Food Security, held virtually under the chairmanship of Kazakhstan on Sept. 8-9.
In the speech, which was read on his behalf by Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Affairs Dr. Ahmad Kawesa Sengendo, Al-Othaimeen warned that the COVID-19 pandemic had “seriously impacted” food systems in member states.
However, he added that OIC members can overcome issues by developing proactive strategies for improving agricultural productivity and focusing more on the production of essential food commodities.
Al-Othaimeen stressed the need to support OIC countries in achieving self-sufficiency in food production through mobilizing the organization’s technical and financial capacities.
The secretary-general also urged the session to consider particular programs to support rural farmers, who in most OIC member states are responsible for producing the bulk of food supplies.
To increase food production and storage, he added that rural farmers need essential tools, access to microfinancing schemes, improved storage facilities and value-addition skills.
Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev also addressed the session, which was attended ministers of agriculture and food security from OIC member states.
The Islamic Organization for Food Security was established in 2016 as a specialized institution of the OIC dealing with agriculture, rural development and food security.