Expo 2020: Food For Future Summit and Global Agtech begins


February 23, 2022 | By RetailME Bureau

The first-of-its kind Food for Future Summit and Global Agtech Expo opened at Dubai Exhibition Centre (DEC) at Expo 2020 Dubai on Wednesday 23 February. Hosted by the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as strategic partner, the two-day summit  have attracted scores of world leaders and food and agriculture innovators for a gathering designed to facilitate action for tackling food security and its climate impact.

The summit comes as governments and the global food ecosystem look to address an impending agricultural shortfall in feeding a growing global population, anticipated to cross 10 billion by 2050. With over 100 global leaders, policymakers, 50 start-up innovators and over 140 exhibitors from more than 60 countries, to share trends and solutions, the ‘Food for Future’ Global Leadership Symposium, featuring a keynote address by H.E. Mariam Al Mheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, will strongly reinforce the country’s status as an industry enabler.

The partnership with FAO – the first time in the MENA region a government ministry has come together with the UN organisation in an issues-focused think tank – underlines the UAE’s leadership in addressing global food security and the climate change agenda by bringing local and international ministerial delegations and leading NGO executives under one roof. The powerful speaker line-up includes Ban Ki-moon, 8th UN Secretary-General and Co-chair of the Ban Ki-moon Centre, Qu Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the City of Milan, who will address the gathering virtually. On stage, ministers and ministerial representatives from Nigeria, Ghana, Lebanon, Spain, the Bahamas, the United Kingdom and Ukraine, amongst others, will be joined by leading officials from the UN, FAO, the World Bank, World Food Programme, AGRA, CGIAR, Irish Food Board, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Singapore Food Agency, as well as C-suite from multi-national food producers.

With over 130 hours of empowering content featuring more than 200 speakers and 14 ministers, the summit will include FAO MENA Agrifood Innovation Days to foster public-private sector engagement in transforming the region’s agrifood systems. The FAO will hold two high-level sessions on Committee on World Food Security Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition, and Trade, Innovation and Technology as Enablers for Food Security. FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for the Near East, and North Africa, Abdulhakim Elwaer, said the Innovation Days will bring cities and municipalities, academia, and civil society together in a common goal. He said: ‘Innovation is a key driver — it helps in transforming our agrifood systems to be more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life for all.’

‘Climate change affects agriculture, food and the stability of food systems leading to hunger and poverty. Not all communities have the same capacity to adapt to climate change, and those in fragile areas and living in poverty are most vulnerable. As we work together to strengthen global food security and increase agricultural development aid, we must champion climate-resilient agriculture and smallholder farmers,’ said Ms. Froehler. The summit will also host ‘Making It Happen’ sessions, bringing industry leaders together to focus on regional innovation and technology-enhanced agriculture and supply chain to make farming more efficient and sustainable. The sessions will explore end-to-end IoT solutions to drone and satellite monitoring, robotics, AI and supply chain with Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) to optimise food production along the value chain and reduce waste.

The summit’s Generation Food stage will host workshops spanning topics related to food for the future global population. The interactive sessions will highlight expert views on how food can be more sustainably and healthily produced, improved, and consumed. The stage will also be home to the ‘Thought for Food MENA Challenge’ start-up showcasing ambitious entrepreneurs will vie for a cash award to progress their innovations. The ’Food for Future’ and ‘Global Agritech’ shows will see exhibitors display the technology and methodology for future food production and waste reduction, opening rich business opportunities. They will also feature the region’s first FoodWise Challenge for schools and universities and see 170 young food system transformers from 11 countries pitch their solutions in the TFF 2022 MENA Agri-Food-Tech Challenge pitch their innovations for funding support.

‘Food for Future Summit and Global Agtech Expo will be a watershed moment in the evolution of public-private sector commitment to change,’ said Trixie LohMirmand, Executive Vice President, Events Management, Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), the event organisers. ‘It will be an empowering event inspiring a radical food security rethink by uniting the industry, governments and NGOs to ensure a food secure world.’

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