Dubai: The UAE has ranked first in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region on the Global Food Security Index (GFSI) 2022, issued by Economist Impact, compared to the third place in the region in 2021. The announcement came from the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE).
Globally, the UAE reached 23rd place, marking an improvement of 12 points on the previous year.
According to the index, the UAE ranked first of all MENA countries in the overall food security index and in the food availability indicator, and second in food quality and safety.
Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said: “Strengthening food security is a strategic priority for the UAE. To achieve this objective, we have adopted an integrated approach that includes the implementation of national strategies and the creation of an enabling legislative and regulatory framework.”
The comprehensive National Food Security Strategy 2051 aims to develop sustainable food systems by using modern technologies, supporting local production, building international partnerships to diversify food sources, and enacting laws and policies that improve nutrition and reduce food waste with the aim of ensuring food security under any circumstances. The strategy seeks to boost the UAE’s ranking in global food security indicators and transform the country into a hub for innovation-based food security.
The minister added that the efforts to strengthen food security include projects, programmes, and initiatives that enhance local production capabilities, stimulate investment and entrepreneurship in the food sector, and promote the adoption of sustainable agricultural methods.
She stressed that the UAE is working to achieve its goal to top the GFSI by 2051.
The minister noted that ensuring the availability of food and the continuity and flexibility of supply chains is one of the main pillars of the strategy. She explained this involves boosting cooperation with other countries worldwide, diversifying food import sources, increasing foreign agricultural investment, and monitoring import markets to verify compliance with the highest international food safety standards.
Globally, the UAE ranked seventh in food availability, and 16th in food safety and quality.
The country scored 75.2 points on the general scale of the 100-point index, compared to 71 points recorded in 2021, registering growth by 4.2 points.
In August 2021, MOCCAE signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Emirates Development Bank (EDB) to cooperate in identifying innovative financing solutions to support entrepreneurship in the agrifood industry based on the use of modern technologies and sustainable systems.
Food trade is one of the most important and dynamic sectors in the country that has witnessed a rapid recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic. The daily food import rate now exceeds 41,000 tonnes, a growth of 21 per cent compared to the same period of the previous year.
The annual GFSI records and measures year-on-year changes in the structural factors that affect food security. The index takes into account several metrics, including food cost, availability, quality, and safety, as well as natural resources and resilience across 113 nations. It is based on 58 indicators that measure the drivers of food security in developing and developed countries.