Arab World Spends $36b on Annual Food Bill, while One-third of Arabs cannot Afford Daily Bread
The Jordan Times daily newspaper focused in its Tuesday's edition at the swollen food bill of the Arab world, which reached a sum of $36 billion, although the statics of the Arab Federation for Food Industries (AFFI) shows that one third of the Arabs cannot afford the daily bread.
Although, the Arab world owns the largest reserves of oil, natural gas, phosphate, sulphur and potash and yet, Arab countries are unable to provide sufficient and qualitative food to their inhabitants, said secretary general of the AFFI Falah Jabr.
He told the paper that out of the eight million new births annually in the Arab nation, one million deaths are recorded among children below one year of age due to malnutrition.
Addressing Arab and foreign food experts, industrialists and officials attending Foodex 2001 in Amman, Jabr said he despaired that calls are raised to enhance investments in the Arab region while Arab investments abroad reach $800 million.
“Although the Arab world consumes nine percent of the total world food trade and pays an annual $36 billion bill for its imported food needs, including industrial inputs, and exports $8 billion worth of goods, one-third of the Arab population cannot afford their daily bread.
He also warned that at a time when food consumption increases in the Arab region by six percent annually, production increases by only two percent.
Currently the customs tariffs applicable in the AFTA are reduced by 40 percent.
A food exhibition, 'Foodex 2001,' featuring more than 30 exhibitors with products from 13 countries including France, Luxembourg, Tunisia, Lebanon and Iraq is being held on the sidelines of the meeting, it added -- Albawaba.com
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