Khaleej Times | 22 June 2008
By Suad Hamada (Our correspondent)
MANAMA — Leasing farms on contract in Arab countries such as Iraq, Egypt and Sudan might be an option to deal with severe shortage of agriculture lands and water in Bahrain.
Researcher Dr Abdullah Al Hadad said rapid urbanisation had resulted in shortage of land for agricultural purposes in Bahrain.
He said that food was one of the main resources for security and stability. So leasing lands in Arab countries could solve Bahrain's dependency on imports and contribute to solving unemployment in these countries, he added.
The Assistant Undersecretary of Agricultural Production Jaffar Habib said his ministry had been negotiating with other government bodies to import important raw materials at lower prices and motivate businessmen to invest in food production industries.
“We are also working with other GCC states to encourage regional businessmen to invest in food related projects in order to meet the demands of food in the region,” Habib said. "Our biggest challenges are the limited agricultural lands in Bahrain and shortage of water resources,” he said.
Habib said lack of local manpower that could work in farm was also a challenge but the government was moving towards training locals to join the sector.
On the measures taken by Bahrain to curb the soaring prices, he said the government had exempted local and imported food stuffs from tax and had enough reserves of wheat, rice and meat.