The GCC countries, with a total population of 40 million, are amongst the world’s richest in terms of oil and gas reserves and per capita wealth. However, when it comes to food sufficiency, due to water shortage and lack of arable land, these countries need to import almost 90% of their food requirements. This backdrop makes the growth and outlook of the food sector a very important issue for the GCC countries.
Domestic production is insufficient to meet the current requirements and food imports in the GCC region stood at USD25.8 billion in 2010. High dependence on imports makes the GCC food supply very vulnerable and highly dependent on the world food market. In the past, any form of disruption in food imports, either due to policy restrictions by exporting countries or natural calamities has affected the region significantly. As a result, food security is an important issue for the region and the countries have taken initiatives to enhance domestic production and at the same time to secure food imports through international agricultural investments.