Dubai to host meet on commodity development

August 19th, 2008 - 2:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Dubai, Aug 19 (IANS) A regional conference on commodity development will be held here this month against a backdrop of a severe food crisis and unprecedented inflation globally.The Amsterdam-based Common Fund for Commodities (CFC), an international financial institution established by the UN, will hold the 2008 Regional Round Table Meeting (RTM) on Commodity Development in Dubai Aug 24-25 in collaboration with the United Arab Emirates ministry of environment and water.

“We’re holding the 2008 RTM here in Dubai to elevate regional public attention to a number of important issues related to the ongoing food crisis and its impact on the Middle East,” ambassador Ali Mchumo, managing director of CFC, said in a statement.

“We need to rethink and formulate innovative pathways for new policies to boost investments in regional and global agricultural productivity to meet the growing demand for food,” he added.

The meeting, the CFC statement said, will focus on the importance of commodity-related economic development in the Middle East and Arab region.

The meeting has received the full support from the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development (AOAD), based in Khartoum.

Among the invited participants for the Dubai RTM are a number of development partners and financial institutions such as the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), International Centre for Agriculture in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and the Saudi Fund.

While many of the challenges in the region are common elsewhere, because of a combination of factors such as climate change, desertification, rising energy production and consumption costs, it is becoming imperative that the Middle East will be obliged to increase its regional integration efforts, according to the CFC statement.

It will also be important for the Middle East to commit additional resources and investments in agricultural commodity production and expanded markets for high-value processed products.

“Certainly, this is one way to connect the importance of international action and cooperation on commodity development in producing countries, which form the majority of the Fund’s membership,” Ali Mchumo said.

“The international community must address both the matter of the food crisis and security as well as economic growth on the part of commodity producers, since their full participation in international trade is the only realistic solution for ending poverty and guaranteeing sustainable global food production, supply and security.”

Established in 1989, CFC is a partnership of 107 member states.

Its institutional partners include the European Community (EC), the African Union (AU), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Andean Community, Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), and the East African Community.

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