Emirates Food Security Council holds second meeting for 2021 to discuss post-Covid progress

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Data reveals that 2020 had the highest rate of food trade growth for the past five years

Dubai, UAE: The Emirates Food Security Council has hosted its second meeting for 2021, with the session part of its commitment to ensuring citizens and residents have ready access to adequate amounts of nutritious food at affordable prices, with a particular emphasis on food security during the current pandemic.

Included in the meeting agenda was a review of the developments and recommendations of the council’s previous meetings and the achievements made over the intervening period, as well as a presentation of the food trade data for the UAE for 2020 and an assessment of the Food Price Index of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation.

Chaired by Her Excellency Mariam Almheiri, Minister of State for Food and Water Security, the meeting was held virtually with the participation of council members, including representatives of the Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology, Ministry of Health and Prevention, Ministry of Education, National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority, Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority,  Dubai Municipality, Sharjah Health Authority, Ajman Municipality and Planning Department, Umm Al Quwain Municipality, Ras Al Khaimah Environment Protection and Development Authority, and Fujairah Municipality.

During the meeting, Her Excellency Mariam Almheiri affirmed that the UAE’s interest in food security is growing in light of the global changes that require finding practical solutions to the challenges of the entire food value chain, noting that the Emirates Food Security Council is working to translate the vision and directives of the leadership into projects, initiatives and procedures that will develop a UAE food sector that is enabled with modern technology.

“The UAE has proven its ability to face and overcome the various challenges that have been presented, especially during this current critical period. We have succeeded in putting in place frameworks that have contributed to building a resilient food system infrastructure ready to deal with rapidly changing circumstances. The Emirates Food Security Council’s business model is an example of joint cooperation through which we strive to enhance national food security and contribute to the sustainable development processes in the UAE as part of the preparation for the next 50 years,” said Her Excellency.

“Through our joint efforts, we look forward to enhancing local food production in the UAE in order to improve our self-sufficiency in a number of strategic commodities, while upgrading the infrastructure that ensures the development of the food supply chain and facilitates food trade. We believe that the support of our leadership and the innovative initiatives launched during the last period, such as the Food Tech Valley, will contribute to transforming the UAE into a leading global hub for innovation-driven food security and an engine to develop the world’s food security systems,” Her Excellency added.

During the meeting, the Food and Water Security Office presented the food trade data for last year, which showed comprehensive growth in all food trade indicators. In 2020, food imports grew by 22.8%, exports by 49.7%, and re-exports by 12.7% compared to 2019, reflecting the efficiency in providing for food needs in all parts of the country during the Covid 19 pandemic. The data showed that 2020 was the highest performing of the past five years.

The Food and Water Security Office also reviewed the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Food Price Index, the tool used to measure the monthly change in global prices for five groups of basic food commodities; grains, oils, dairy, meat, and sugar.

Also at the meeting, the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority reviewed the Agri-food Data Dashboard, which contains all data related to food, such as population and consumption, local production, food prices and trade..

The meeting also reviewed the efforts of the National Committee to Facilitate Global Food Trade and Diversify Food Import Sources, headed by the Ministry of Economy, where recommendations were agreed upon, including identifying countries producing and exporting strategic commodities and linking these countries to the World Logistics Passport initiative with the aim of reducing the cost of food transportation and enhancing integrated and diversified supply chains.

The council members also discussed the economic feasibility of providing modern farms with carbon dioxide (CO2) in order to enhance their agricultural productivity, with COan important element for modern agtech farms, an additional subject was treated waste water as this water could be used for the cooling purposes of the farms.

About the Emirates Food Security Council:

The Emirates Food Security Council is the primary council reference for all UAE food affair and is the central authority concerned with following up on the implementation of the National Food Security Strategy with relevant stakeholders. The council’s mandate includes overseeing the implementation of the plans and objectives of the strategy, which includes five strategic objectives: facilitating global food trade and diversifying food import sources; developing sustainable local production enabled by technology for the entire value chain; reducing food loss and waste; ensuring food safety and improving nutrition systems; and enhancing