As part of ‘Sea the Future’, the international conference for technologies from the sea and the desert taking place in Eilat (18-20 October), a panel of ministers and senior officials was held with the participation of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Minister for the Development of the Negev and Galilee Periphery, Oded Forer, the Minister of Regional Cooperation Isawi Frej and ministers and senior officials from Moldova, Romania, Azerbaijan, Ecuador, Togo, Malta and other countries.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Minister for the Development of the Negev and Galilee Periphery, Oded Forer told the participants, “Among the challenges over the next decade, we are touching on one of the most important points for humanity. Food security is our main challenge. The countries of the world cannot grow food as they used to in the past, in accordance with the changing climate and in light of global warming. To do so, we need breeding methods and new technologies.”
The Minister emphasized the connection between the stability of the region and food security and added that “Israel extends its hand to any cooperation to find sustainable solutions for food security at the international level.”
In his comments, Minister for Regional Cooperation, Iswai Frej, noted, “Who would have believed that we would be sitting here in Israel with partners from Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco. For me it is a dream come true. This is the key to security and stability in our region. The next step is to see all the countries around – Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Palestinians. Without the Palestinian side, we cannot move anywhere, because they are part of our region. I believe we can do it together.”
Vladimir Bula, Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry in Moldova, said, “You can learn from Israel’s experience of utilizing water in agriculture, and all countries should join together in order to fight hunger and food shortages.”
Speaking on a panel dedicated to regional cooperation, Dr. Alexandra Troyano-Groux, Regional Agricultural Consul for Lebanon, Iraq, Iran & Egypt, at the French Embassy in Lebanon, explained “Iran has big plans for the field of aquaculture in the country. Their goal is to increase the fishing industry to a production of 100 million tons per year by 2023 with the help of cage breeding along the coastline. In Lebanon, the field of aquaculture began in 1932, the Lebanese government works with the World Food Organization, and the main goal is to ensure sanitary conditions, consistent electricity and wastewater treatment in the country. We are working in collaboration with the Lebanese to ensure the basic conditions for this.”
The conference, has brought together more than 70 representatives from many countries, including 10 ministers and deputy ministers from around the world.
Participants came from the United States, Chile, Ghana, Singapore, Romania, Malta, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, the Netherlands, Australia, Iceland and more.
The conference comes following the government decision led by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, to launch a multi-year plan to develop the city of Eilat and the Eilot region as a national and international center for the production of food from the sea and the desert at a cost of approximately NIS 170 million.
The issue of global food security will face many challenges in the coming years, including the rate of population growth, global-warming and frequent climate changes, rising sea levels, and decreasing fertile areas for agricultural crops. Accordingly, a significant part of the future of global food must originate from the sea and the desert.