How Will UAE Sustain Food Security Post COVID-19?

Published May 13th, 2020 - 06:00 GMT
How Will UAE Sustain Food Security Post COVID-19?
The Minister of State for Food Security pointed out that the post-Covid-19 phase presents an opportunity for supporting technology-enabled agricultural system. (Shutterstock)
Highlights
Governments will focus on adopting modern agricultural technologies and utilising renewable natural resources in food production.

Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Al Mheiri, Minister of State for Food Security, on Tuesday confirmed that the UAE food security is maintained and its food system is capable of facing the potential challenges of the post-Covid-19 phase.

In the session entitled, "Implications of Covid-19 on the UAE: Risks and Opportunities", she said the current situation will change the world's perspective on food security. The session took place on the second day of the UAE Digital Government Meeting, "Preparations for the p-Covid-19 phase". to develop the UAE's strategy for the post-Covid-19 period.

Al Mheiri stressed that, despite the challenges of coronavirus pandemic, it also offers many opportunities for the food sector in the UAE, which proved to be highly equipped and resilient. The UAE successfully secured food supplies in all the country's markets, thanks to the efforts and cooperation of all stakeholders.

Al Mheiri highlighted the main pillars of food security in the post-Covid-19 phase, including increasing local food production as a top priority, especially as the local production is of high quality, easily provided to local markets, and helps overcome imports challenges. She added that in the post-Covid-19 phase, governments will focus on adopting modern agricultural technologies and utilising renewable natural resources in food production.

The second pillar is providing a business-friendly environment that attracts foreign investments, as the coming period will witness increasing partnerships to launch investment incentives packages and promote agricultural and food projects that cater to the plans of increasing local production.

The third pillar is developing various criteria for evaluating external agricultural investment opportunities, including the ease of product access to the markets of the investing countries and the commitment to external agricultural investment and product export. These projects aim to support the food security system in countries with limited natural re-sources, thus changing the external agricultural investment landscape.

Post-Covid-19 opportunities

The Minister of State for Food Security pointed out that the post-Covid-19 phase presents an opportunity for supporting technology-enabled agricultural system, accelerating the transition from traditional to modern farming methods, enhancing food and water security, expanding local and international agricultural projects, increasing food production in the UAE through more than 40 thousand farms, and raising local production by 100 thousand tons to increase the strategic stock and ensure the availability of the main food products in all markets.

In addition to these measures, the next stage requires building strategic partnerships with countries and companies specialised in modern agriculture technologies, increasing food storage capacity and stores to reduce dependence on food imports, developing plans to enhance e-shopping of basic food products, conducting more research to achieve self-sufficiency and limit imports, in addition to conducting thorough checks on food supplies at airports, ports, and border crossings.


Future of food Security
"Our wise leadership inspires us with high determination and we are well-positioned to be-come a knowledge role model. The UAE will work on projects to promote food security, such as e-shopping, plans to diversify food import sources, applying strict controls on food quality and security, and increasing exports to boost the UAE's position as a global hub for food trade," Al Mheiri said.

She discussed the UAE plans aiming to lead regional and global efforts in using modern agriculture and water treatment and reuse technologies, especially as governments tend to expand and improve emergency food assistance and social security programs, develop innovative tools and solutions to facilitate access to food, maintain a balance between continuous production and workers' protection, and stimulate the economy by increasing food production and exports. 


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