Innovation in agriculture is key to enhance food security


March 31, 2019 | By RetailME Bureau

As the UAE works to become one of the world’s top 10 food secure nations, an innovation-driven food security roadmap is being etched out for the entire Middle East. Aligned to this goal, Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, Minister of State for Food Security in the UAE, recently held a meeting with the UAE’s food security stakeholders and the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

The meeting was held in Abu Dhabi with EIU officials, developers of the Global Food Security Index, ahead of the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA), which opens tomorrow, April 1, at ADNEC. Almheiri will address the GFIA opening ceremony on the role of innovation in agriculture as a key factor for enhancing food security in the Middle East.

Commenting on the meeting, Almheiri said, “The meeting that I had with UAE food security stakeholders and representatives of the Economist Intelligence Unit was the next step in progressing deliberations on the food security innovation driven roadmap. We discussed the region’s performance trends since the previous index, conducted an analysis of key strengths and weaknesses, discussed an overview of the main implications for the region and analysed regional cooperation initiatives. We also reviewed a comparative analysis of other countries’ food security indices, including Singapore, whilst also hearing from the EIU on recommendations for improving performance and enhancing discussions between stakeholders on how best we could apply these to the region.”

“From our meeting, we will now look to action the immediate steps to move forward, ensuring that these are aligned to the National Food Security Strategy and our national efforts. The key take-out from our meeting was that innovation remains at the core of this vision. We must strengthen food security for a better future of the region and that food security will not be a luxury rather a necessity which requires today’s action. We look forward to further workshops at the forum this week, which we will be participating in, and also learning more about the 50 new innovations that will be showcased at GFIA at ADNEC this week,” she added.

“GFIA is held in strategic sponsorship and partnership with the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority, is endorsed by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment and supported by the Ministry of Food Security to encourage the adoption of new technologies in the agricultural sector and advancement of facilitating global agri-business trade in the nation for the benefit of food security. This year GFIA will focus on how Artificial Intelligence (AI) can drive progress in agriculture towards increasing food production and ensuring food security. The conference programme will include panel discussions on strategies for implementation and explore cross cutting issues to enable artificial intelligence in food production such as financing, deployment of technology, data IP and regulatory approval,” stated Thamer Rashed Al Qasemi, chairman of GFIA Organising Committee.

“In a region with water scarcity and a small proportion of arable land, technology that uses sustainable production, water efficiency, without chemicals and delivers clean and traceable foods will also be essential to food security. Sustainable and efficient ways of food security production is the key objective of GFIA to support local and international efforts to strengthen food security,” he elaborated.

GFIA is one of the leading food security events in the region addressing food security challenges. It is designed to help food producers to produce more food by introducing innovations and new trends, research and development (R&D), subsidisation and stockpiling policies and food loss strategies.

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