Food Tech Valley reinforces UAE’s self-reliance - GulfToday

Food Tech Valley reinforces UAE’s self-reliance


Sheikh Mohammed is briefed on Food Tech Valley by Minister Mariam Al Muhairi on Saturday. WAM

The launch of the Food Tech Valley by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is praiseworthy. The new initiative seeks to triple the UAE’s food production.

The initiative aims to create an integrated modern city that will serve as a hub for future clean tech-based food and agricultural products. Not only this, it will be an incubator for researchers, entrepreneurs, startups and industry experts involved in developing solutions that have the potential to shape the future of the food industry.

The new city will spearhead innovation and leverage collaborative networks to lead regional transformation and export knowledge on sustainable food systems globally.

It will support the use of technologies and applied research in food processing and agriculture and apply modern farming techniques, such as vertical farming, aquaculture and hydroponics, to accelerate self-sufficiency in fresh food produce and reduce wastage of resources.

Sheikh Mohammed said, “Food Tech Valley is part of a series of projects that aim to sustain the UAE’s food, water and agricultural systems in line with the National Food Security Strategy. Food and medicine represent strategic sectors that help us ensure a prosperous and sustainable future for the next generation.”

The Food Tech Valley will host vertical farms, an advanced smart food logistics hub, Research & Development (R&D) facilities and a marketplace.. Over 300 varieties of crops will be produced in the new city using modern farming techniques and the latest agri technologies.

Through an innovation-based approach to food, the new site aims to enhance local food production, diversify investments and advance research to align and influence future food trends and preferences.

Mariam Al Muhairi, Minister of State for Food and Water Security, stressed that the launch of the initial phase of the Food Tech Valley is vitally important at the present time when the world needs strategic projects to achieve food self-sufficiency, while ensuring sustainability and conservation of resources.

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted global food supplies and is causing labour shortages in agriculture worldwide. There was panic buying by shoppers who cleared supermarket shelves of staples as populations the world over prepared for lockdowns.

That’s not all. There are millions who are suffering from hunger. Malnutrition badly impacts health conditions.

Many countries have serious problems of malnutrition and stunted growth as a result of the food crisis. The coronavirus pandemic has put a spanner in the works of measures to tackle poverty.

Thankfully, the UAE is spared the sight of such terrible scenarios, thanks to the leadership’s all-pervasive emphasis on food security. So much so that we have a Minister of State for Food and Water Security, Mariam Almheiri.

Al Muhairi affirmed that the UAE is working to strengthen the food ecosystem through many innovative solutions that ensure food sustainability, facilitate food trade, and utilise the latest modern technologies to enhance local production and increase strategic food stocks.

The UAE has shown full-on preparedness to show that it is totally self-reliant where food is concerned. The UAE has many tools available to enhance its readiness for any future crisis that may occur, with the COVID-19 pandemic confirming that the country has the capacity to enhance its food security and increase a certain degree of self-sufficiency for some main food commodities, as well as the ability to diversify its sources of food and facilitate trade from various countries around the world.

“We are confident in our ability to continue strengthening our food ecosystem to keep pace with the growth of local food demand and to transform the UAE into a leading global hub for innovation-driven food security, one of the key aims of the National Food Security Strategy,” the Minister said.

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