For Immediate Release
Washington, DC - The United States of America and the State of Qatar signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today regarding Cooperation to Enhance Global Food Security. The MOU was signed by Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and Dr. Khalid Al-Attiya, Minister of State for International Cooperation. The signing took place in Washington, D.C. at the Four Seasons Hotel, on the margins of the Emir of the State of Qatar, His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani's official state visit to the United States.
Among those present at the signing were delegates from the Qatar National Food Security Programme (QNFSP) and members of the U.S. Department of State.
"Both the United States and Qatar see food security as a development issue that must be addressed comprehensively and creatively. This agreement demonstrates the strong partnership between our nations and emphasizes our joint commitment to address this global challenge," said Dr. Shah. "Research to improve dry land agriculture is essential to the success of President Obama's Feed the Future Initiative. More importantly, this partnership will improve the lives of people living in food insecure countries who rely on rain-fed agriculture."
"Global food insecurity is a threat to world security," explained Minister Khalid Al-Attiya. "By seeking to develop new technologies for sustainable agriculture in Qatar, we hope to become a model to dry land countries so that they too can boost their agricultural production in the coming years."
The QNFSP seeks to build an industrial-scale solar desalination facility dedicated to domestic agricultural production. The program also plans to develop new agricultural technologies such as hydroponics and to utilize novel and efficient irrigation practices.
"For us to avert a future crisis, we will need to develop new technologies, and this is what we intend to achieve in collaboration with the U.S. Food security is a top priority for both our countries, with USAID leading the U.S. Feed the Future initiative. If we are successful in developing technologies that can then be transferred to other dry land countries, then we will have made an important step towards alleviating global hunger and food insecurity" he added.
Since 2009, the United States and Qatar have held numerous exchanges in the field of food security with special emphasis on renewable energy and water scarcity challenges. An MOU was signed in September 2010 between the QNFSP and the State of Oregon. In late February-early March 2010, an important event co-sponsored by USAID and the QNFSP was held in Doha to initiate the Middle East and North Africa Network of Water Centers of Excellence (MENA NWC) to link technical institutions to address critical agriculture-related water problems confronting the region.
The MOU between the two countries is expected to solidify joint research and exchange of scientists; facilitate access to sources of finance; develop Public-Private Partnerships; and facilitate technical and policy dialogues among experts and practitioners.
For more information about USAID, please visit www.usaid.gov.
Last updated: December 18, 2014