The UAE’s bid to become one of the world’s top 10 food secure nations took a major step forward with the launch of a comprehensive food security roadmap for the Middle East.

Launched by Mariam Al Muheiri, Minister of State for Food Security, the innovation-driven food security roadmap is designed to further the objectives of the UAE’s National Food Security Strategy and to support regional improvement in this important portfolio.

The roadmap relies on five pillars: building a food data strategy, developing an innovation research and development (R&D) strategy, establishing a national food waste programme, expanding nutritional guidelines, and enhancing the regional trading environment.

“The roadmap is rooted in innovation, a key factor in becoming more food secure. Innovation, science and technology, and research are essential pillars of UAE Vision 2021 and applying these drivers to the food security sector will be instrumental in both improving crop yield and minimising the use of resources,” said Al Muhairi.

During the meeting, Al Muhairi and strategic stakeholders relayed the government’s food security initiatives, with contributions from the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority, the Ministry of Health and Prevention, Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority and the Food Security Centre — Abu Dhabi.

“The Middle East is faced with a number of pressing challenges, from extreme climate conditions and scarcity of freshwater resources, to an increased demand for food. This roadmap will help to guide efforts to enhance food security,” said Leo Abruzzese, Senior Global Public Policy Director for The Economist Intelligence Unit, who was also present during the launch.