Counting the cost of food security for the world’s richest nations

BBC | 5 December 2014

For all its wealth, Qatar’s existence depends on a secure source of food and water

Imagine this: an oil spill the size of the Gulf of Mexico 2010 disaster, but this time in the Persian Gulf.

For Fahad bin Mohammed Al-Attiya, it is the nightmare scenario. He is the executive chairman of the Qatar National Food Security Programme.  The small Gulf state is 100% dependent on desalinated water.  Mr Al-Attiya says such a scenario would threaten the very survival of Qatar and its population of more than two million.  “We need to have clean water,” he says. “A situation like the Gulf of Mexico where BP lost two or three million barrels of oil – if that happens in the [Persian] Gulf the consequences would be severely different.”  Qatar sits on the world’s third largest gas field and is investing billions into mega-reservoirs at home to give it some kind of water security.
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