Aquaculture and urban farming key to UAE food security

More than 40 innovations to be exhibited at Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture.

The UAE will promote innovations in aquaculture and urban farming to ensure food security, a top official told Gulf News on Thursday.

“Aquaculture and urban farming have a lot of potential in the UAE,” said Mariam Al Muhairi, Minister of State for Food Security, on the sidelines of a press conference to announce the details of a global conference on food security to be held in Abu Dhabi next week.

“We are working on [aquaculture projects] and will announce the target [in this sector] soon,” she said.
Aquaculture is the farming of fish and other aquatic organisms in controlled conditions, even in the desert.
Al Muhairi said technologies are avalailabe in the market and some private companies in the UAE have already proven the viability of aquaculture. “We can now start looking into the commercialisation of these technologies,” she said.

The minister said she was looking forward to the innovations in aquaculture and urban farming to be exhibited at the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA) that opens on Monday at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec).

She said urban farming also has a lot of potential in the UAE as food can be grown in closed environments. “People need to know what urban farming is,” she said.

The minister plans to instil this idea in people so they can do it in their homes. “We can conduct awareness campaigns and ensure it is implemented,” Al Muhairi told Gulf News.

The organisers of the GFIA said more than 40 innovations in agriculture sector will be on display at the event to be held under the patronage of Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs; and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (Adfca).

Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, commented that the UAE companies can learn about the latest innovations and technologies in the agriculture sector at the forum.

Suhail Mohammad Faraj Al Mazroui, Minister of Energy and Industry, commented that it is an opportunity to discuss global best practices to achieve water and energy sustainability.

Saeed Salem Al Ameri, director-general of Adfca, said Shaikh Zayed’s vision and values of promoting sustainability would be reflected at the GFIA.

Khalifa Ahmad Al Ali, director-general of Abu Dhabi Food Security Centre, said leading public and private sector leaders and experts would analyse the performance of local food production sector and come up with a practical roadmap to accelerate growth.

GFIA this year also includes the region’s first International Conference of Arab Beekeeping Organisation. Dr Ahmad Al Ghamdi, chairman of Arab Beekeeping Organisation, said the initiative would help develop the bee industry in the Arab world.

Thamer Al Qasimi, chairman of the GFIA 2018 Organising Committee, said GFIA is based on the notion that the ongoing drive for innovation in the agriculture sector is the only way to feed nine billion people sustainably by 2050.

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