The UAE is making significant strides in meeting its food security targets, and is aiming to be among the top 10 countries on the Global Food Security Index by year end.
Despite the difficulties of growing food in the desert, the UAE excelled at identifying the main agricultural challenges and developing programs to tackle them, said Kevin Mckenna, New Zealand’s Trade Commissioner, and Consul General. “The ability of the Emirati government to put their ‘money where their mouth is’ and match ambition with investment is really impressive. You can see it in initiatives such as the Food Tech Valley,” said McKenna.
In May, Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum unveiled plans to launch the first phase of Food Tech Valley which aims to triple the UAE’s food production and serve as a global destination for start-ups and industry experts in the food ecosystem.
New Zealand is working closely with Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) on research projects to enhance water and food security. The island nation is globally known for its leadership in sustainable farming, production, and nutrition and its food sector feeds around 40 million global consumers each year, eight times its population.
When it comes to upcoming agricultural collaborations and projects between New Zealand and the UAE, McKenna said “we have to stick to what we know best.” This includes biotechnology and livestock genetics, controlled environment agriculture, and high-efficiency irrigation to minimize water wastage when feeding livestock or watering crops. “Our way of approaching this is working with local agencies, such as EAD, and universities in the UAE who can better translate the learning to the farmers,” he added.
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