UAE announces major food and agriculture strategy as it plans 20,000 new jobs
The UAE aims to create a $10bn food and agriculture sector as it creates 20,000 new jobs in the next five years.
Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, unveiled the seven key pillars of a new strategy for the emerging sector in the country.
Key strategies include localising innovation, fostering a UAE-first culture and food supply chain, and providing farmers with the necessary support and resources to make them a global leader in agri-food innovation and sustainability.
UAE food and agriculture
Bin Touq praised the country’s F&B sector initiatives in skill development and digital-infrastructure capabilities achieved through various programmes to reshape how food is produced, distributed, and consumed in the region and globally.
He also commended the newly launched UAE Food Platform’s ability to enable public-private collaboration in food security and optimising the F&B ecosystem with digital infrastructures to drive the sector growth and attract investments and trade opportunities.
The comments came during the Future Food Forum,a two-day event, which put the growing role of the food sector in UAE’s economy and well-being and the industry’s future in the spotlight.
The UAE, today, is considered one of the most important hubs of global food logistics.
Food products trade amounted to AED130bn ($35.4bn) in 2022 alone compared to AED105bn ($28.6bn) in 2021, registering a growth of 24 per cent in one year.
Food trading represented 5.7 per cent of the UAE non-oil trade.
Bin Touq said: “With a growing population, food security assuming the highest priority, the UAE is doing well on this front and was on the top of the global food security index 2022 compared to other MENA counterparts, but the challenges for food in these uncertain times are real and present.
“Thankfully, our food industry’s resilience and adaptability make it adept in addressing this challenge while constantly emphasising sustainable practices, which will nurture our earth for centuries.
“We are working on a strategy to transform our Food and Agriculture cluster into a global power; the essential pillars around this work, which I’m about to say represents our commitment to innovation sustainability and self-sufficiency and food production”.
Seven pillars of UAE food and agriculture strategy
- Localising the next generation of agri-disruptors and growing them into global champions by nurturing local talents and innovation by identifying and supporting the next-generation solutions
- Making the UAE a global regulatory powerhouse ensures that our products are of higher standards and have international recognition.
- Promoting a UAE-first culture to foster the entire food value chain by prioritising domestic production and reducing reliance on imports
- Providing sufficient funding to industry players
- Fostering innovation with world-class R&D innovation
- Enabling players to diversify and access new markets by creating pathways for all agriculture players
- Build the next generation of farmers, who are the future of agriculture and agri-tech
Bin Touq expressed commitment to providing farmers with the knowledge, technology and resources they need to succeed through training programmes, modernisation efforts, and support systems to ensure that the agriculture workforce is prepared to address the challenges and opportunities ahead.