UAE National Food System Summit highlights AgTech’s role in SDGs

By Arya M Nair, Official Reporter
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The UAE’s advanced agriculture technology sector’s huge potential to accomplish the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was the key topic at the UAE National Food System Summit Dialogue, which took place recently.

The dialogue, which was hosted by Ms. Mariam Hareb Almheiri, Minister of State for Food Security, themed “Special Zones for Modern Farming and Access to Technology,” served as a preliminary event for the UN’s Food Systems Summit which is scheduled for September.

The main topic of discussion was the UAE’s leadership in implementing AgTech (agricultural technology), which is playing an important part in fulfilling the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which all rely to some extent on securing global food security.

During the discussions, Ms. Almheiri stressed that the UAE’s aspiration to be a worldwide center of innovation-driven food security, as outlined in its National Food Security Strategy 2051, was in line with the SDGs.

“Adoption and implementation of technology throughout the food value chain not only represents the best means of enhancing our own country’s food security, but it also enables us to become a valuable knowledge resource in this vital area of agriculture, an area that the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization recognizes as essential to meeting the entire array of SDGs,” Ms. Almheiri explained.

The session focused on the potential role of the UAE’s expanding urban farming industry in achieving the SDGs, with Controlled Environment Agriculture initiatives established within the built environment serving as the major food system disruptors that place crop production at the center of the community.

The UAE’s potential to maximize its urban farming capacities and by bringing food closer to the table, reduce the pollution and costs associated with lengthy transport chains were seen as its contribution to Sustainable Development Agenda by 2030. When scaled up, urban farming can better insulate countries from supply chain impacts, such as those seen when global pandemics strike.

The city aspires to become a center for future clean tech-based food and agricultural products, allowing the country to become a top exporter of sustainable food systems in the process.

The city will also produce over 300 species of crops using modern farming techniques and the latest agri-technologies.

Related: UAE’s agricultural innovation initiative gets backing from AAAID