Giving food security our best shot

Nov 29, 2021 | General

The UAE has ambitious plans across many sectors. When the country sets a goal, they certainly put everything into achieving it. This year marks the UAE’s Golden Jubilee and it is incredible to look at how some of the Emirates have grown from being pearl diving communities into global hubs for trade, tourism, finance, aviation and more recently space.

The recent global Earthshot awards highlighted that it is time to repair our world, recognizing entrepreneurs, businesses and countries who provide sustainable solutions that don’t cost the earth. Across the UAE, initiatives are being implemented that support this ‘Mission to Earth’.

COP26, held in Glasgow this month saw countries reach an agreement to slow climate change. It was during COP26 that Red Sea Farms was selected by the Alliances for Global Sustainability as a partner to enhance Abu Dhabi’s opportunities to maximize use of sustainable technologies as the UAE aims to be ‘Net Zero’ by 2050.

Last week, the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Security Week took place, promoting food security locally, regionally and globally. The event featured the latest global innovations and solutions in agriculture, food production, aquaculture and honey production. 

The UAE Government has set itself a target to become the world’s most food secure nation by 2051. Currently, the UAE ranks 33rd in the Global Food Security Index. The country is making progress against many of the metrics. National Resources and Resilience is naturally an area of focus for the future. It aligns well with the commitment to develop a comprehensive national system based on enabling sustainable food production through modern technology.

Supporting this commitment, in May 2021, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched the first phase of Food Technology Valley in Dubai, a project to promote innovation in agriculture to improve food security.

Last year, Silal was established by ADQ, one of the region’s largest holding companies whose portfolio covers a wide range of sectors supporting Abu Dhabi’s economy.  The entity has objectives to diversify sources of food, support the Abu Dhabi government’s efforts to secure supply chains, boost supply and distribution of food in the Emirate and stimulate local agri-food sectors.

Last week, during the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Security Week, it was announced that Red Sea Farms is partnering with Silal to bring new technologies to the UAE that will help accelerate achievement of their objectives.

Red Sea Farms has received investment from Global Ventures, a UAE-based firm of investors on a mission to change the world and this is being used to help finance the project.

It will be the first time the UAE has seen the introduction of an end-to-end range of technologies that have been designed, funded and tested to commercial standards in the region, to help stimulate the AgTech industry and local food production. The technologies include growing salt-water tolerant crops, using sustainable climate control, and maximizing while managing the use of sunlight. 

The outcome will be high quality, consumer-loved crops that have been enabled by sustainable technology. It is also beneficial to local growers as it lowers operating costs, reduces the risk of extreme heat for crops, and improves yields.

Taking part in the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Security Week will allow retailers, distributors, manufacturers, government bodies and AgTech businesses to get to the heart of the current and future challenges. Consumer choice will also play an important role in determining how we improve food security. Fairer distribution, controlling excesses and making a commitment to buy locally are all things consumers need to control. Let’s see what we can all do to improve food security -it’s worth the shot.