March 30, 2020 / 1:00 PM / 2 months ago

UAE adopts law to organise food strategic stocks in emergencies

DUBAI (Reuters) - The president of the United Arab Emirates has approved a law organising strategic stocks of food commodities in emergencies, the state news agency WAM said on Monday, amidst rising global fears for food supplies due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Gulf Arab country depends on imports for 80-90% of its food.

The new law approved by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan applies to traders and suppliers and spells out the role of the economy ministry in the process.

The ministry role includes suggesting policies and plans for strategic stocks in coordination with relevant bodies and putting them to cabinet for approval, WAM said.

The UAE’s economy ministry said earlier on Monday it had increased onion imports with 150,000 kilograms (330,693 pounds)arriving on March 29 and more shipments to follow in the coming days after noticing an increase in prices.

Global food security concerns have mounted in the past week as some governments contemplate restricting the flow of staple foodstuffs with the world increasingly going into lockdown to fight the coronavirus.

Panic buying of household items and store cupboard staples such as rice and flour has occurred in nearly every country hit by the virus.

Reporting by Alaa Swilam; Writing by Maha El Dahan; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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