IOFS implements proactive measures to address food safety challenges

NUR-SULTAN – The Islamic Organization for Food Security (OISA) aims to take decisive action to address food and nutrition issues in line with its strategic vision by 2031, says OISA Director General Yerlan Baidaulet , in a recent interview with The Astana. Time.

Director General of OISA Yerlan Baidaulet.

The ten-year strategy was adopted at the fourth General Assembly in Nur-Sultan in 2021, when Kazakhstan took over the chairmanship of the organization for one year.

Created in December 2013, OISA is the only institution in the north of the world that brings together 57 member countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Kazakhstan floated the idea of ​​establishing the institution at the Seventh World Islamic Economic Forum in June 2011. BUnder the auspices of the OIC, the institution has the same status as the Islamic Development Bank and the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) and specializes in food security, agricultural and rural development.

“After COVID, food security is vital,” Baidaulet said. “Nearly 30% of the increase in hunger and malnutrition figures show that the situation is getting worse. We are seeing real disruptions in the food supply chain all over the world. The ongoing special military operation in Ukraine is touching on hunger hotspots in Muslim countries.

Despite the pandemic, OISA has organized a plethora of events over these two years.

“We organized five international online events in 2020. In 2021, we organized 28 events and activities with the participation of more than 10 countries. This year, we doubled our activities by launching the 10-year path towards our Vision 2031. According to the strategy, our 16 programs were approved under five pillars, including food security governance, food crisis response, capacity building, industry development and resource mobilization,” said the CEO.

Smooth and priority implementation16 programs cover all activities related to food security, rural development and humanitarian activities.

Science and technology are also on the agenda. “We have partners who work with us on scientific innovation and new technologies, agro-biotechnology and the development of new methods of growing strategic products, water irrigation in agriculture. All issues related to the support of our member countries are at the center of our concerns these days,” explained Baidaulet.

The Director General of OISA believes that Kazakhstan benefits from having this unique institution on its soil.

“Kazakhstan was previously focused and oriented on neighboring countries such as CIS countries and Europe, and some countries in the Middle and Far East. According to our activities, we bring Kazakh actors to cooperate with different partners of the Islamic world on four continents, in total 57 countries. This is the advantage that Kazakhstan now derives from our activities because we have organized events in tin the Middle East and Africa,” he said.

The Kazakh government acquires knowledge on how to manage foot safety at the governmental level, how to manage new technologies, how to develop multi-sectoral activities and how to develop multilateral activities in the humanitarian field through the IOFS platform.

“One of our pillars is related to food trade and investment. We also work with Kazakh Invest and QazTrade national companies. We have our branch established under Astana International Financial Center – International Islamic Food Processing Association, where there are 18 honorary members as sectoral food unions. We also have corporate members from over 12 major companies working to attract investment to the IOFS Agribusiness Marketplace,” he added.

The institution took an important step this fall with the re-operationalization of the International Islamic Food Processing Association in Dubai. This will attract investment to Kazakhstan from Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

“These countries and the region are of interestworked with Kazakhstan. Most countries in the Gulf region have food production limitations due to climatic specificities and hot seasons. They are not self-sufficient in food. Over 80 percent, in some cases even 90 percent of the food they import from outside. We hope that Kazakhstan can become a food hub for these countries,” the general manager said.

OISA is also developing a livestock ecosystem pilot project in Kazakhstan to promote sustainable and long-term contracts with primary farmers. The project aims to provide a long-term and strategic attitude to address meat supply issues, Baidaulet noted. “We have done a detailed feasibility study for the sheep fund. We are introducing a model that systematizes the entire food supply chain within the country. Together with agronomists, we research new breeds of sheep to support our farmers. We can also help you with food logistics issues, as we have agreed with Qatar Airways to be our main cargo.o partner for our deliveries not only for Kazakhstan, but for all intra-OIC food markets.

This year, the Fifth General Assembly will take place in Tunisia on October 10 and 11. Kazakhstan is expected to hand over its presidency to Tunisia.

“OThe implementation of our strategy will be one of the topics on the agenda. We are proud to conclude that 2022 is therefore a successful year. We are seeing increased interest from our member countries. And we have more stakeholders, including scientists, researchers, young people and business people. It is already observed that OISA is the most active among all OIC institutions. This is recognized by our partners in our meetings, and we would like to raise and activate our profile, integrate more actively with the interests of all member countries,” he said.