(MENAFN - Gulf Times) A number of local businessmen, farm owners and experts have hailed the recent decision to set up a standing committee for farmers and the regulation of farmers' affairs. They have described the move as an important step towards the further development of the country's agriculture and farming sector, according to local Arabic daily Arrayah. Stressing the importance of the panel, as envisaged in a Cabinet decision, they said it would serve as a specialised entity and boost farm production in the country, thereby playing a key role in ensuring food security. The committee has some major tasks ahead of it, including the provision of due support to farms and encouraging non-productive ones to be active and productive, they pointed out. Qatari businessman Ahmed al-Khalaf, owner of a farm in Al Khor, said the committee could help develop the agricultural and fisheries sector in a broader and more comprehensive way. He said there are currently 1,400 licensed farms in the country but only 100-200 of these are productive ones. The others, he explained, are mostly being used for non-agricultural purposes. 'Among the 100-200 productive farms, around 20-30 produce (farm items) in good quantities to meet the local requirement. The others produce very little, probably covering the needs of the owner's household and his acquaintances, or produce only animal fodder, he pointed out.