Food security exists when every person has physical and economic access at all times to healthy and nutritious food in sufficient quantity. There are three fundamental pillars in achieving food security. The first is food availability, second is access to food - economic and physical access - and the third pillar is food utilization. In terms of food availability (the first pillar) today, the world is food secure and statistics shows that global grain prices are less costly in real terms than at any time in recent decades. The second pillar is critical at the national and household levels. At the national level, Oman produces only a fraction of the food it consumes - most of the food, especially grains and red meat, are imported. Land and water scarcity are among the leading constraints to agricultural production such that by 2050 Oman is expected to depend solely on imports to meet food security needs. The third pillar is the utilization of food through adequate diet, clean water, sanitation and healthcare to reach a state of nutritional well-being where all physiological needs are met. Focusing on the two food security pillars (food availability and access to food), this paper proposes three alternative mechanisms for achieving food security in Oman. The three mechanisms proposed are the formation of a National Food Trading Company, setting up an efficient Strategic Grain Reserve System along the lines suggested by the World Bank, and the promotion of private-sector participation in the importation of grain and other critical food commodities. These proposed mechanisms are general and therefore can be easily applied to other Gulf Cooperation Council countries with minor modifications.
ASJC Scopus subject areas