Mariam Al Muhairi and the UAE delegation at a food production facility during their visit to Queensland and New South Wales. Image Credit: Ministry of Food Security

Dubai: As the UAE continues its efforts to ensure food security for its future generations, looking into various alternative food options as well as sustainable agricultural practices, a UAE delegation led by Mariam Al Muhairi, Minister of State for Future Food Security, visited Australia exploring the country’s food landscape.

Al Muhuiri was accompanied by Dr Obaid Al Katbi, the UAE Ambassador to Australia, and representatives of the Food Security Centre, Abu Dhabi, as the team visited several innovative food production facilities in Queensland and New South Wales.

The delegation visited the Queensland Parliament, the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Australian Trade and Investment Commission to receive more insights on Australia’s food landscape.

The team also visited the University of Technology, Sydney, where Al Muhuiri discussed the UAE’s research agenda regarding alternative food and applications to bring algae to the forefront of food applications, with the blooms used for human, animal and fish nutrition, as well as cosmetics and biofuel.

The delegation reviewed how algae can provide threefold more protein yield than beef using virtually no land or freshwater.

At the Queensland University of Technology, the UAE delegation looked at the applied research on utilising robotics in harvesting and reviewing how to minimise food loss in the value chain.

The research combined robotic vision and automation to develop new agricultural prototypes designed to identify and robotically harvest food produce, ensuring that it doesn’t leave any crops bruised or destroyed in the process. Discussions with the research team in charge assessed the commercial viability and potential application of the technology in the UAE to reduce food loss and enhance future food security.

The UAE delegation also visited a number of world-leading Australian companies that are embracing megatrends and piloting transformational initiatives to optimise both the supply and demand sides of food security by improving food production systems.

“Our visit to Australia was the middle stop on a three-leg international tour to find out more on how countries in the Asia-Pacific region are creating strategies to deal with food security. We discussed facilitating food trade and establishing regional food hubs,” said Al Muhairi.

She added that the team was able to draw some incredible insights from the visit that will help shape the finalising of the UAE’s National Food Security Strategy, which will be released in September this year and which will set out long-term policies for future food security in the UAE.