UAE establishes new food security council to step up local production efforts
According to the UAE Government website, the ECSF will help meet the goals of the National Food Security Strategy 2051 which includes making UAE first in the Global Food Security Index by 2051, and top 10 by 2021.
The National Food Security Strategy 2051 was launched in November 2018 which aimed to achieve zero hunger by ensuring access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round. The strategy specifically aims to implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production.
Roles of the new council
Some of the roles of the ECFS include reviewing all legislation on food before it is adopted at the federal level, proposing regulations, legislations and policies to enhance food security, and develop a sustainable local production.
The ECFS will also submit periodic reports to the UAE Cabinet on the progress of initiatives and projects and follow up with the Global Food Security Index to achieve the UAE’s objectives.
The council is chaired by Mariam Hareb Almheiri, Minister of State for Food Security, and includes members from other ministries including the Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Ministry of Energy and Industry, Ministry of Health and Community Protection, Ministry of Education, and National Authority for Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management.
Almheiri said: "The council’s implementation of a national food security governance system will achieve many tangible social and economic benefits up to 2021. These benefits include creating over 16,000 job opportunities around the country, increasing agricultural production by over 100,000 tonnes, achieving economic returns of some AED22 billion, and aligning the government’s efforts with the Water Security Strategy," as reported in WAM.
UAE’s indoor tomato farm
One example of a sustainable local production is UAE-based Madar Farms.
Its facility located in Abu Dhabi uses LED lights to grow fresh tomatoes, microgreens and other produce in an indoor farm. It expected to be fully operational by the end of this year and triple the amount of microgreens it currently produces.
The farm was designed by Dutch firm Certhon which installed more than 5,000 ultra-efficient Philips GreenPower LED fixtures from Signify Netherlands. Produce can be grown in ideal conditions year-round making production consistent and reliable.
The farm is expected to use 30% less water per kilogram of tomatoes compared to other greenhouses. The produce will be distributed across UAE, and help increase local production.
Abdulaziz AlMulla, CEO and co-founder of Madar Farms told local media: "Our new state-of-the-art farming facility is a milestone moment for Madar Farms. As the population in the UAE continues to grow and there’s more focus on sustainability, the new farm will help to meet this increasing demand and give UAE consumers more options to enjoy the best quality fresh locally-grown produce."