Almost 90 per cent of food items in the Gulf Cooperation Council are imported from abroad, according to a new study.
The Food Gap in the GCC report by researcher Faisal Al-Otaibi of Naif Arab University for Security Sciences recommended greater integration between Gulf Arab states to reach self-sufficiency and boost agriculture, according to Arab News.
A food gap, representing the difference between domestic production and consumer needs, as well as net imports of various food commodities, is said to exist across the Gulf region.
Increased demand and lower production rates mean the GCC is relying increasingly on foreign markets for food security, the study found.
Saudi Arabia led the region for food scarcity with a gap of 20.94 per cent, followed by the UAE with 14.42 per cent, Kuwait with 3.59 per cent, Qatar with 3.25 per cent, Oman with 3.25 per cent and Bahrain with 1.6 per cent, according to the Arab Organisation for Agricultural Development.
The region is also lacking in strategic crop production, with Saudi Arabia the only country to produce wheat.
However, the kingdom is scaling back production due to water scarcity.