Innovation and cooperation key elements to achieve a more sustainable agri-food supply chain

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UAE is setting a global example on how agriculture can face global warming

Dubai, UAE: Italy homes 60,000 organic farms and 40,000 farms committed to preserving seeds and plants at risk of extinction. In 2020 the global European sales of organic food products reached 6.9 billion euro (+11% in 2021/2020) and in Italy they have increased by 156% over the past decades thanks to a growing demand related to their healthy nutritional properties, safety assurance and a sustainable approach to environment and communities.

In the frame of the Expo 2020, the Italian Trade Agency, in cooperation with the Embassy of Italy in the UAE, the Consulate General in Dubai and the Italian Commissioner’s Office of the Italy Pavilion, brought the spotlight on the connection between food, agriculture and sustainability at the 5th Innovation Talk. Titled ‘Sustainable and secure food for a sustainable life’, the roundtable took place on Tuesday 9th November at the Italy Pavilion’s Amphitheatre at Expo 2020, and presented possible solutions to achieve a more sustainable food production systems and the role of Italy and UAE in setting an example for the agricultural and food industry.

The Innovation Talk was officially opened by Paolo Glisenti, Commissioner General Italy Pavilion and the panel of experts, moderated by Carlo Ferro, President, Italian Trade Agency, included Mr. Luigi Scordamaglia, CEO Inalca – Board member of Filiera Italia; Mr. Emil Moukarzel, Managing Director of Agriculture division of Elite Agro LLC; Mr. Paolo Zanetti, Managing Director Zanetti SpA – President of Assolatte; Mrs. Sara Roversi, President of Future Food Institute; and Mrs. Sabrina Stoppato, CEO Stoppato 1887.

More and more companies look at the environment as an asset to preserve and no more as a resource to be exploited, and innovation and advance technologies are essential to achieve a more sustainable food production system.

Speaking from the event, Luigi Scordamaglia, CEO Inalca – Board member of Filiera Italia said, “In 2015 in Milan we announced that we wanted to bring our agri-food exports to 50 billion euros, today we are ready to double that goal, leaving the pandemic behind.

After only 5 years we have managed to reduce agricultural CO2 emissions bringing it to 30 million tons of CO2 equivalent – even more extraordinary numbers when compared with those of France which reaches 77 million or with those of Germany which reaches 60 million – and at the same time we have been able to reduce by 32% the use of pesticides, by 15% the use of chemical fertilizers and all this while maintaining the European primacy of the highest food added value in Europe, 64 billion euros, an absolute record ”.

Mrs. Sara Roversi, President of Future Food Institute, talking about cooperation between countries as a solution to tackle the issues in the food system, said: “The challenges the world is facing are so high that the only way to achieve the goals and to accelerate the transition that is needed is to join forces. Now days we are exposed to the major issue of climate change and we can learn a lot from what has been already tested and achieved in other countries where the climate issue is more relevant. Talking for instance about water, here in the UAE we have seen different technologies and research centers applying digital solutions to foster the innovation around water management and facing water scarcity, growing food also in tough environment. “

Sharing the case history of Elite Agro, one of the leading producers and distributors of fresh fruits and vegetables in the UAE, that is committed to conserving water, energy and land through the use of world class technologies and digital agriculture, Mr. Emil Moukarzel, Managing Director of Agriculture division of Elite Agro LLC, said: “Our vision – in line with that of the UAE – is to promote local production, to reduce the time from farm to fork, to sell fresh products to our customers. Hot weather and water scarcity are some of the challenges that we are facing and to solve them we are applying all the best technologies of the world.”

The talk was followed by a networking cocktail event with the 80 F&B companies who exhibited at the ITA pavilion at the Speciality Food Festival from 7 to 9 November.

With 16 panel discussions taking place between October 2021 and March 2022, each Innovation Talk will feature highly-regarded personalities from both Italy and the UAE. The esteemed speakers will discuss issues related to Expo 2020 Dubai’s weekly themes that are aligned with Italy’s plans to fulfil the European Green Deal, and the trade fairs ITA is participating in around the Emirates. 

About Italian Trade Agency – ITA:

The Italian Trade Agency is the Government agency which promotes the globalization of Italian firms, under the aegis of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. ITA helps to develop, facilitate and promote Italian economic and trade relations with foreign countries, focusing on the needs of SMEs, their associations and partnerships. ITA sustains Italian firms in their internationalization process, promoting the marketing of Italian goods and services as well as the image of “Made in Italy” products around the world, while facilitating outward Italian investments and encouraging FDI attraction into Italy. ITA provides information, support and consultancy services to Italian companies on foreign markets, in order to foster exports and economic cooperation in all sectors, with the objective of increasing the effectiveness of their presence on international markets. ITA works closely with the Italian Regions, the network of Italian Chambers of Commerce, business organizations and other public and private entities. ITA’s headquarters are based in Rome and it works through a large network of offices around the world which are acknowledged as “Trade Promotion Offices” of the Embassies or Consulates of Italy.