Experts from Qatar’s QAFCO will be among the key participants at the 11th Agri-Nutrients Conference that will be hosted virtually by the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) on September 15-16. The theme of the two-day event is ‘Forging new avenues for a food secure future’, GPCA said in a release.
Besides Qafco, the conference will offer a fantastic line-up of speakers including experts from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the International Fertilizer Association, and key agri-nutrient producers in the GCC, including SABIC (Saudi Arabia) and GPIC (Bahrain).
QAFCO MD & CEO, Abdulrahman Al-Suwaidi, also chairman, GPCA Agri-nutrients Committee and member of the GPCA Board, will deliver the welcome remarks on September 15 and set the stage for the two-day event. A representative from FAO will deliver the first keynote address on how to ‘Strengthen the foundation of the global food security agenda in the wake of the pandemic’. Dr Abdulrahman Jawahery, president, GPIC, and treasurer of the GPCA Board, will also be joined by Esin Mete, founder, MT Agri-Consulting, in a “fireside chat” – the newest feature at this year’s conference edition. Samir al-Abdrabbuh, EVP, Agri-Nutrients, SABIC and vice-chairman, GPCA Agri-nutrients Committee, will welcome attendees at the conference on September 16, followed by Patrick Heffer, deputy director general, International Fertilizer Association, who will lead the keynote session entitled ‘How will advanced farming techniques help strengthen the GCC’s self-sufficiency agenda’.
The conference arrives just at the right time – more than a year since the coronavirus pandemic erupted across the world, threatening one in every nine of the world’s population of chronic undernourishment – to shed light on the importance of achieving global food security and highlight the role of agri-nutrients in supporting food production during the pandemic.
According to GPCA, the Arabian Gulf remains an important hub globally for the production and export of agri-nutrients, with the regional industry estimated to support the food supply of 5% of the world’s population, or 350mn people across the globe. This figure is indicative of the significance of agri-nutrients for society, particularly as the world’s population is estimated to reach 9bn by 2050, pushing demand for food to almost double. According to the Global Food Security Index, the GCC states are ranked 31st globally in terms of the affordability, availability, quality and safety of their food, but the region still relies on approximately 85% of food imports.
Building a robust and resilient ecosystem for the production of food and securing the region’s self-sufficiency will require countries in the GCC to transform their strategies, increase domestic production, diversify their import sourcing partners, strengthen their supply chains and adopt more cutting-edge technologies. Attending the 11th GPCA Agri-Nutrients Conference will afford delegates the unmissable opportunity to learn from the entire food production value chain, including technology providers, producers, academia and NGOs about the latest market innovations, the challenges facing regional producers and how they can be overcome, as well as ways and means to collaborate with technology and research partners to develop more sustainable and efficient agri-nutrient solutions.
Dr Abdulwahab al-Sadoun, secretary general, GPCA, said, “As we aim to bring the agri-nutrients community together to debate and discuss the challenges related to the sector and its future, we are pleased and privileged to organise the 11th edition of our well established Agri-Nutrients Conference in a virtual format and provide delegates to join us from all parts of the world and learn from the very best in the industry. “There has never been a more important time to discuss food security and the role of the agri-nutrients industry to ensure growing demand for food is being met. At the same time, we are under no illusion about the challenges facing the sector, not least of which are around climate change, sustainability and carbon neutrality, and the responsibility we all share to mitigate our impact on the planet. The conference will explore all of these trends and more in great detail.”