Dubai committed to maintain highest levels of food security - GulfToday

Dubai committed to maintain highest levels of food security


Sheikh Hamdan gets a briefing during a tour of Bustanica, the world’s largest vertical farm, in Dubai on Tuesday. WAM

Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, said Dubai remains committed to maintaining the highest levels of food security with one of the world’s most comprehensive plans to address this vital issue.

“Under the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, we will continue launching new initiatives that apply modern farming techniques to accelerate self-sufficiency in fresh food produce and support sustainability, which is a top priority for us,” said Sheikh Hamdan.

“The Dubai Food Security Committee constantly reviews current opportunities and challenges within the national food security strategy framework. Our plans for enhancing self-sufficiency in the agricultural sector by supporting the use of technologies and applied research in food processing and agriculture are focused on meeting the current and future needs of Dubai’s citizens and residents,” he added.

He made the comments during a tour of Bustanica, the world’s largest vertical farm that recently opened in Dubai. Accompanying him were Adel Ahmad Al Redha, Chief Operating Officer, Emirates Airline; Mansoor Falaknaz, Member of the Board of Directors, Bustanica; and Robert Fellows, Production Director, Bustanica.

“The opening of the world’s largest vertical farm in Dubai reflects the high priority that His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid’s strategies place on long-term food security and the government’s commitment to making continuous investments to ensure sustainable growth,” Sheikh Hamdan said.

“We are fully confident in the ability of our youth and institutions to continue delivering innovative projects that accelerate the pace of development and achieve optimum results in strategic sectors,” he said, adding that Dubai will continue to pursue innovative ways to further strengthen the emirate’s resilience and food sustainability irrespective of the global environment.

During the tour, Sheikh Hamdan was briefed on the innovative technologies used in the state-of-the-art hydroponic farm. The Bustanica facility has been developed by Emirates Crop One, a joint venture between Emirates Flight Catering, one of the world’s largest catering operations serving more than 100 airlines, and Crop One, an industry leader in technology-driven indoor vertical farming. Backed by an investment of US$40 million, the world’s largest hydroponic farm is spread over 330,000 square feet.

Sheikh Hamdan commended the Emirates Group’s initiatives to constantly raise the bar of excellence in the aviation sector. Under the leadership of  Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, Emirates has evolved as a key player shaping the industry’s growth and future, Sheikh Hamdan said. The Emirates Group’s robust business foundations built on farsighted investments in people, technology and infrastructure place it in a strong position to make even more significant contributions to the economy in the coming years, he added.

Located near Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central, the newly opened vertical hydroponic farm in Dubai is geared to produce more than 1,000,000 kilogrammes (kg) of high-quality leafy greens annually while requiring 95 percent less water than conventional agriculture. At any point in time, the facility grows more than one million plants that provide an output of 3,000 kg per day.

Meanwhile, the UAE is continuing to strengthen its food security system, through a comprehensive range of policies that include promoting cooperation with other countries and markets, diversifying sources, and attracting local and foreign agricultural investment.

The country’s food import rate increased by 21 percent in the first half of 2022, recording over 41,000 tonnes of imported food on a daily basis, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment said.

Essa Al Hashmi, Assistant Under-Secretary of the Ministry for Sustainable Communities and Acting Assistant Under-Secretary for Green Development and Climate Change, said the food trade is a leading national sector, noting that it has witnessed significant recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement to the Emirates News Agency (WAM), Al Hashmi stressed that ensuring food abundance and the continuity and sustainability of supply chains is a key goal of the ministry, and is part of its strategy to ensure the country’s food security.

The ministry is also keen to make food widely available, in cooperation and coordination with federal and local authorities, he added, affirming that according to data on border crossings, the previous months witnessed the entry of large food consignments into the country, which included commodities and products that were sold in local markets, as well as others that were re-exported, as the UAE is one of the world’s leading re-exporting centres.

Al Hashmi explained the country’s efforts to provide food and ensure the sustainability of supply chains, including a diverse range of imports from all countries, most notably India, Brazil, Canada, the US, Saudi Arabia, Australia and Pakistan.


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