A UAE delegation, headed by Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, concluded a visit to the Netherlands that aimed to exchange knowledge and best practices in the food sector.
Accompanied by His Excellency Jamal Al Musharakh, UAE Ambassador to the Netherlands and Commissioner General of the UAE Pavilion at Floriade Expo 2022, the delegates shared their wide range of expertise with their Dutch counterparts and learned firsthand about the latest Dutch AgTech. They comprised representatives of the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE), Ministry of Economy, Ras Al Khaimah Government, Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA), Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), Dubai Airport Freezone (DAFZ), Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP), Emirates Development Bank (EDB), Khalifa University, International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), Mubadala, DP World, Al Wasl Asset Management Group, Essa Al Ghurair Investment, Ghassan Aboud Group, LuLu Group International, Silal, Soma Mater, Uns Farms, Badia Farms, Madar Farms, Emirates Bio Farm, Elite Agro, and youth representatives.
As the first stop, members of the delegation toured Floriade Expo 2022, a global horticultural exhibition that takes place in the Netherlands once every 10 years. They visited the UAE Pavilion, presented by the UAE Ministry of Culture and Youth, the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, and the National Projects Office under the theme ‘Salt Water Cities: Where Land Meets Sea’. The pavilion highlights the country’s journey of sustainability, which involves adapting to the desert environment, characterized by a hot, arid climate and water scarcity, and transforming into a global model of driving socio-economic development while conserving biodiversity and preserving natural resources.
On the same day, the delegation visited the Floating Farm in Rotterdam. Home to 40 cows, the world’s first floating farm produces fresh dairy products in a sustainable, circular, and animal-friendly way using innovative agricultural methods and technologies.
The delegates also toured GreenTech Amsterdam 2022, a global meeting place for horticulture professionals and a premier exhibition of related technologies and innovations, where they learned firsthand about the innovations on display.
Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri delivered the opening remarks at GreenTech Amsterdam. She said: “Climate change and food insecurity are on the rise, threatening the lives and livelihoods of millions of people, with projections that their impacts will escalate in the next few decades. We owe it to the next generations to work together and find ways to give them a bright future – one with abundant resources and safe climate so they can lead prosperous lives. To feed the growing global population, we need climate-smart agriculture that has a low carbon footprint and is resilient to the current and future impacts of climate change. It is imperative that we rethink our food systems for the future and pursue innovation in every step of the way.”
She added: “The UAE is no stranger to the challenge. We work relentlessly to transform our food systems into sustainable ones through leveraging innovation and building partnerships. We have set an ambitious goal for ourselves to position the UAE as a global hub for innovation-driven food security and a premier exporter of climate-smart AgTech solutions.”
Moreover, the delegation participated in the UAE Hour, organized by MOCCAE and GreenTech in line with the UAE’s keenness to share expertise and work with other countries to address critical challenges. At the gathering, His Excellency Jamal Al Musharakh, UAE Ambassador to the Netherlands, and His Excellency Lody Embrechts, Ambassador of the Netherlands to the UAE, highlighted the cooperation between the two countries in food security. In addition, MOCCAE outlined the country’s pathway toward sustainable food systems, and Al Wasl Asset Management Group introduced the audience to the Food Tech Valley, Dubai’s pioneering AgTech city.
ADIO and EDB showcased their finance programs in the AgTech industry, while Silal presented its vision for the ‘Cocreation of futureproof production of food and flower systems’.
During the visit, His Excellency Jamal Al Musharakh and His Excellency Jan-Kees Goet, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality of the Netherlands, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to boost cooperation in building sustainable, climate-smart food systems.
As per the agreement, MOCCAE and the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality of the Netherlands will work together to enhance food security by adopting technology-based solutions to strengthen the agricultural sector with a focus on horticulture, poultry production, and food processing, in addition to promoting bilateral investments in responsible agriculture and facilitating agribusiness trade.
They will also collaborate and share knowledge on sustainable food production within the framework of the water, energy, and food nexus, implement joint R&D programs, ensure mutual alignment of food safety standards, and step up cooperation on the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate) initiative, launched jointly by the UAE and the US with the aim of increasing and accelerating investments in climate-resilient agriculture.
Other areas covered under the agreement include promoting the Food Tech Valley among tech developers and investors from the Netherlands, encouraging Dutch start-ups and SMEs to participate in the UAE’s global FoodTech Challenge, and organizing joint symposiums, seminars, exhibitions, fairs, and other events related to agriculture, food safety, and food security.