Abu Dhabi: The globalised nature of the food supply chain means that no country, region or continent is immune to food insecurity, a top official said here on Monday.
“This is a challenge that transcends national borders and is one felt acutely here in the Middle East, where burgeoning populations in arid regions are placing a strain on the capacity of nations to feed their citizens,” said Dr Thani Ahmad Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment.
He was delivering the opening speech on behalf of Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (Adfca), at the opening ceremony of the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA).
“The forum will generate meaningful debate, actions, partnerships and opportunities to help us — in just 33 years from now — produce at least 60 per cent more food than we do today to feed a global population of 9 billion,” Al Zeyoudi said.
Despite the harsh climatic conditions and water scarcity, the UAE has succeeded in developing a sustainable farming sector that contributes to meeting some of the food requirements of the country, he said. Still, the UAE welcomes global expertise in agriculture, the minister said.
Mariam Bint Mohammad Al Muhairi, Minister of State for Future Food Security, and Saeed Salem Al Ameri, director-general of Adfca, were also present.
The two-day forum is being held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec) with the participation of around 600 exhibitors displaying their cutting-edge products and services and over 50 game-changing innovations.
Eng. Shaikh Salem Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of ANHB Group, highlighted the important role of apiculture in agriculture, ahead of the First International Conference of Arab Beekeepers Association and official launch of the Arab Beekeeping Association to develop the bee industry in the Arab world.
“Animals pollinate over 80 per cent of flowering plants. Among these, bees are by far the most important, with around 25,000 different species worldwide. This makes bees essential to the production of many fruits and vegetables, the life of pastures and forests and the diet of humans and domesticated and wild animals,” Al Qasismi said.
David Davis, AgUnity Founder and CEO, who works to empower farmers through crypto ledger and mobile apps, said his company’s smartphone and blockchain app called AgriLedger helps farmers plan, trade and share securely.
It ensures that when farmers hand over their produce to a cooperative there is a secure record to see everyone gets paid. It creates a circle of trust for small farmer cooperatives to improve efficiency in developing countries and help farmers retain a bigger share of their crop value. In a world first, AgUnity has adapted the technology to provide precise food traceability for the consumer with a use of a QR code, for example on a bar of chocolate, to precisely shows every step of production right back to a video of the farmer, his family and his farm.
Thamer Al Qasimi, Chairman of the GFIA 2018 Organising Committee, said GFIA presents advanced processes and modern models that promote the development of production processes through the use of artificial intelligence and the adoption of more environmentally friendly and sustainable technologies.s