UAE eyes top 10 spot in the World Food Security Index by 2021 by ramping up production
The Minister of State for Food Security, Mariam Hareb Almheiri, announced the launch of the strategy during the 2nd UAE Government Annual Meetings held in Abu Dhabi late last month (Nov 27).
The UAE also aims to top the World Food Security Index by 2051.
This year, the UAE ranks 31st in the index, slightly behind its Middle East neighbours Qatar (22th), Kuwait (28th), and Oman (29th) while the first place goes to Singapore.
To rise through the ranks, the UAE will ramp up domestic food production.
This includes enhancing local production and sustainable food production through the use of modern technologies and technologies.
For instance, the Dubai government had earlier agreed to build 12 vertical farms in the city, with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment saying that it would allocate 7,600 sq metres of land for the purpose.
Besides local production, the UAE will also develop international partnerships to diversify food sources.
An example was identifying alternative supply schemes covering three to five sources for each major food category, the Gulf News reported.
Other than securing food sources, the strategy plans to put in place legislation and policies that improve nutrition intake and reduce food waste.
In the lead up to the launch of the strategy, Almheiri had visited a number of countries in the past few months to learn from their experience, such as Singapore, Australia, and Egypt.
Four new initiatives were also introduced following discussions of the Food Security Working Group.
They include “The Food Valley Platform”, “Aquaculture Pulse: A Guide to Grow the Aquaculture Sector”, “The Aquaculture Basket”, and the “National Governance Structure for Food Security”, the Emirates News Agency reported.
The "Food Valley Platform" is a database that aims to furnish basic information to parties interested in the research and development of food security.
It contains information on resource funding, research agenda, and patent registration mechanisms, along with a list of global research findings.
On the other hand, as its name would suggest, the "Aquaculture Pulse: A Guide to Grow the Aquaculture Sector" will provide ways of achieving success in the aquaculture sector, highlighting the competitive advantages of the country.
Lastly, the “National Governance Structure for Food Security” will incorporate representatives from the various segments of society and aims to engage stakeholders in the development of future food security policies.
"The food security sector has achieved significant progress through adopting a set of national initiatives aimed at promoting scientific research, developing optimal solutions for the relevant challenges, and designing policies that help promote the future of food security in the UAE," Almheiri said.