The impact of Covid-19 on the global economy and trade has highlighted the importance of food security and how countries need to prioritise the domestic manufacturing of basic foodstuff to support their populations.
During a live online forum yesterday with speakers from Italy and the UAE, including H.E. Mariam Bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, UAE Minister of State for Food and Water Security, experts in Agri-Tech discussed how countries should be willing to adapt and embrace new technologies in the future to feed the world’s population.
Already a focus for the UAE, the country launched its National Strategy for Food Security 2051 in 2018, aiming to ensure access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round throughout the world. Yesterday’s webinar was hosted by the Embassy of Italy to the UAE as part of the InnovItalyUAE initiative, and the Ambassador of Italy to the UAE was joined by a range of speakers from industry and academia.
InnovItalyUAE looks at opportunities to enhance bilateral cooperation in innovation between Italy and the UAE, and is held in partnership with the Khalifa University of Science and Technology and the Dubai Future Foundation. Agri-Tech: As a key for food security is the final forum in a series of six that have taken place over the last three months discussing innovation topics, ranging from smart cities to developing a global vaccine for Covid-19. The focus of yesterday’s webinar was around the framework of the 5th edition of the Week of Italian Cuisine in the World.
During his opening remarks, His Excellency Nicola Lener, Ambassador of Italy to the UAE said, “This forum highlighted the innovation that is taking place in the industry, and how we face and cope with the global challenges around food security in a post-pandemic world. There needs to be coalition within the private and public sectors to see the true impact of Covid-19 on food systems and how we move forwards globally. Heading into Expo2020 Dubai, Italy’s production of food, how technology and food manufacturing is connected and the sustainability of food in Italy will be a focus for us at the Italian Pavilion.”
H.E. Mariam Bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, UAE Minister of State for Food and Water Security, said, “We’re blessed in the UAE to have leaders who have foresight in their DNA and have been building more resilient food systems. Currently, 90 per cent of foods consumed in the UAE are imported and we are aiming to reduce this dependency. Thankfully, our stringent strategy has ensured our supermarket shelves remained full during the lockdown, which shows the strength of our international partnerships and logistical network. Now is a time to reflect and re-prioritise; and we want to propel the UAE to the forefront of the Agri-Tech industry. The pandemic has shown that having a global, multi-faceted strategy is required and the UAE stands ready to share its knowledge to overcome future challenges.”
Concluding the session, Maria Elena Provenzano, Farm Manager, Elite Agro LLC said, “The speakers have shown that collaboration and innovation is key, especially in light of the global challenges, growing demands for food, environmental resources and the impact of Covid-19 on access to food and resources. It highlighted how important it is to guarantee our consumers safe and nutritious food and the importance of a holistic approach.”