Hamadeh calls to form emergency food committee

The food sector representative at the Jordan Chamber of Commerce (JCC), Raed Hamadeh, called for forming an emergency committee to maintain a comfortable stockpile of food commodities in the local market and overcome the consequences of the novel coronavirus.

In a press interview on Wednesday, Hamadeh said the announcement of the World Health Organization (WHO) about the new coronavirus as a “pandemic” requires a greater cooperation and partnership between the public and private sectors to find new alternatives aimed to enhancing the Kingdom’s food stockpile and maintaining stable prices.

The emergency committee, to be comprised of the two sectors, should have a comprehensive vision about the alternatives, adding merchants and importers could meet the local market’s needs from the United States, Argentina, Turkey, Russia, Sudan, Australia and Canada.

Hamadeh called on the government to prevent the Kingdom’s food exporting to other countries if necessity arises.

He renewed his call to exempt the citizens’ food from customs duties and taxes, especially those imported from countries, which Jordan does not have trade agreements with, noting food security must be at top priority.

“The door for importing food did not close in a bid to enhance the strategic stockpile of sufficient foodstuffs for a year, especially commodities with a long-shelf-life such as sugar, rice, and legumes,” he said.

Jordan, Hamadeh highlighted, is one of the safest countries in the region in terms of food circulation due to health control, in addition to the foodstuff manufacturers and producers sector’s commitment to safety and public health conditions.

The Kingdom’s total food imports amounted to $4 billion annually, part of which is raw materials for industry, while the rest is ready for consumption, he said, adding Jordan has imported around 300 thousand tonnes s of sugar, 200 thousand tonnes of rice, and 30 thousand tonnes of powdered milk.

Source: Jordan News Agency