DUBAI, 31st March 2021 (WAM) -- The Emirates Food Security Council has convened virtually its first meeting for 2021, hosted as part of the UAE’s commitment to advancing the food supply chain ecosystem in the country and to explore developments in food trade in the UAE and around the world.
Chaired by Mariam Almheiri, UAE Minister of State for Food and Water Security, the meeting discussed the necessary measures to strengthen the food system in the country, with the council reviewing an action plan for 2021 and exploring ways to achieve the goals of the National Food Security Strategy.
The meeting was attended by council members represented by the Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, Ministry of Health and Prevention, Ministry Of Industry and Advanced Technology, Abu Dhabi Agriculture & Food Safety Authority, Dubai Municipality, Sharjah Health Authority, Municipality and Planning Department in Ajman, Environment Protection and Development Authority in Ras Al Khaimah, and Fujairah Municipality.
The meeting was also attended by a representative from the International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA).
Almheiri affirmed that the UAE is working to strengthen the food ecosystem through many innovative solutions that ensure food sustainability, facilitate food trade, and utilise the latest modern technologies to enhance local production and increase strategic food stocks.
"The UAE has many tools available to enhance its readiness for any future crisis that may occur, with the COVID-19 pandemic confirming that the country has the capacity to enhance its food security and increase a certain degree of self-sufficiency for some main food commodities, as well as the ability to diversify its sources of food and facilitate trade from various countries around the world," she said.
"The cooperative and partnership approach between the various members of the Emirates Food Security Council facilitates the achievement of the council’s vital objectives. Continuous coordination enables us to reach the best solutions to develop the entire food value chain across all the emirates, both now and in the future, in order to contribute to achieving sustainable development in the UAE and to prepare for the next fifty years. We are confident in our ability to continue strengthening our food ecosystem to keep pace with the growth of local food demand and to transform the UAE into a leading global hub for innovation-driven food security - one of the key aims of the National Food Security Strategy," the Minister added.
The Emirates Food Security Council operates through a mechanism that takes into account the common trends in managing the food security ecosystem in the country, which includes the elements of water security, energy security, emergencies and crises, strategic stocks, local agricultural production, food safety, foreign investment, diversification of import sources, and nutrition.
The Council’s meeting resulted in a number of key recommendations, including creating a mechanism to review and determine the price-cap for major food products in line with changes in the prices of agricultural inputs, including feed to support facilities for the production of poultry, eggs and fresh milk. The meeting also recommended commissioning the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) to prepare a model to forecast the impact of climate change and drought rates on local agricultural production as part of the future risk management on national food security.
The meeting also recommended working on utilizing the lessons learned that led to the revitalization of food export and re-export operations enhancing the country's pioneering role as a global hub for food trade, in light of the increase in the activities of exporting by more than 20 per cent and re-exporting by nearly 60 per cent of food in the country in 2020 compared to 2019.
Moreover, the council members reviewed the developments and recommendations of previous meetings and the updates from the council’s national committees, as well as discussed the strengths and developments of the National Food Security Strategy and the achievements made during the year 2020, through which the country was able to successfully mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the UAE’s food supply chains.
Also as part of the meeting, the Food and Water Security Office examined food trade data for the last year, as well as assessed a report on the rise in prices of grain and fodder, discussing their potential implications for the global food ecosystem. Juma Al Kait, Assistant Undersecretary - Foreign Trade Affairs, Ministry of Economy, presented the work of the National Committee to Facilitate Global Food Trade and Diversify Food Import Sources, highlighting its important role in widening the UAE’s sources of food from abroad – another key strand of the National Food Security Strategy.
Saeed Al Bahri Salem Al Ameri, Director-General of the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority presented the agricultural registry project for Abu Dhabi. In addition, the forward-looking model for the impact of climate change on agriculture in the UAE was presented by Dr Tarifa Alzaabi, Acting Director-General of ICBA.
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