Minister of State for Food Security
Recognising the importance of food security and the necessity to achieve self-sufficiency in food, the UAE Cabinet appointed a minister for food security, Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Al Mheiri. Responsibilities of the Minister of State for Food Security include conducting research and applying modern technology to achieve food security.
Emirates Council for Food Security
The UAE Cabinet launched the Emirates Council for Food Security (ECSF) to strengthen the efforts of national authorities to achieve food security, as well as for meeting the goals of the National Food Security Strategy.
Minister of State for Food Security chairs the council, membership to which includes representatives from Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Ministry of Energy and Industry, Ministry of Health and Community Protection, Ministry of Education, and National Authority for Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management.
Scope of work
The scope of the council’s work includes the following:
National system for sustainable agriculture
On 28 June 2020, the UAE Cabinet approved the national system for sustainable agriculture to improve the efficiency of farms, enhance self-sufficiency in food and create new opportunities to ensure that the agriculture sector is always ranked among the best. The national system for sustainable agriculture seeks to:
- increase self-sufficiency from the targeted agricultural crops to 5 percent annually
- increase of average farm income to 10 percent annually
- raise workforce in the sector by 5 percent annually
- achieve a 15 percent annual reduction in water used for irrigation of a production unit.
Read related news coverage on the website of WAM.
The Food Security Dashboard of Dubai
In June 2020, H. H. Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman, Dubai's Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management, launched The Food Security Dashboard of Dubai.
The Dashboard is capable of using artificial intelligence and data analytics to rapidly measure the five important indicators of food security:
- the supply index
- stock availability
- local production
- consumption levels
- the cost of vital commodities in the emirate.
The Food Security Dashboard of Dubai will work on implementing the strategic plan for food security in the UAE, and will significantly contribute to achieving the goals of the national food security strategy, given the platform’s flexible nature and its use of artificial intelligence and data technology to enhance food security levels and strategic food stock, and in monitoring imports and prices of all basic commodities, consumption patterns, and any circumstances affecting the food supply chain.
The Dashboard was developed by a local government team, supported by the innovative initiatives of Smart Dubai and the exceptional efforts of government agencies such as Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Port, Customs and Free Zone Corporation and Dubai Economy.
Read news coverage on WAM.
UAE Aquaculture Pulse 2020
Minister of State for Food Security launched UAE Aquaculture Pulse 2020 (PDF 450 KB), a document set to serve as a reference point for evaluating investment opportunities in the local aquaculture sector.
The UAE Aquaculture Pulse 2020 studies consumption patterns in local and international markets, analyses production quality and size as well as prices and availability to support future investments in aquaculture projects in the UAE.
The new document lists the hatcheries available around the country that produce fish fingerlings (juvenile fish) of various types. It showcases the larger fish farms which account for over 90 percent of the current production.
The document explores the demand-supply dynamics for fish products in the UAE as per current estimates. It identifies the species that are most in demand for consumers and provides their average price in the country.
Read news coverage on WAM.
UAE Food Bank
The UAE Food Bank is a charitable organisation, launched in 2017 under the umbrella of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI). It is committed to distributing food to those in need while eliminating food waste by collaborating with local authorities as well as local and international charities to create a comprehensive ecosystem to efficiently store, package and distribute excess fresh food from hotels, restaurants and supermarkets. It is the first food bank in the United Arab Emirates.
The Food Bank initiative aims at:
- Reducing the amount of food wasted
- Opening branches of the UAE Food Bank inside and outside the UAE in order to deliver meals to as many underprivileged people as possible
- Entrenching the values of social responsibility and volunteerism in the moral code of institutions and individuals by initiating sustainable partnerships with food and hospitality sector entities such as restaurants, supermarkets and hotels
- Solidifying the social value of sustainability and reducing excessive food waste through awareness campaigns.
A law to regulate strategic stock of food commodities
H. H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE approved Federal Law No. 3 of 2020 Regarding the Regulation of the Strategic Stock of Food Commodities. The law was approved with an aim to organise food supplies in the event of crises, emergencies and disasters, and achieve food sustainability. The provisions of the law apply to suppliers and the registered merchants. Read more on the regulation of the strategic stock of food commodities.
Food Tech Challenge
The Food Tech Challenge is a global competition that seeks to develop innovative solutions for food production and management in the UAE. The Global Food Technology Challenge aims to use advanced technologies and efficient tools and techniques to overcome the challenges of the agricultural sector and achieve sustainable food production in the UAE.
The USD 1 million prize money of the challenge will be divided among four winners. A high-level jury consisting of international experts in technology, economy and sustainability will evaluate submissions and select the best projects in terms of efficiency, creativity, and project scalability.
The challenge is in line with the objectives of the National Food Security Strategy, which aims to develop a comprehensive national system based on enabling sustainable food production through the use of modern technologies.
The competition supports the UAE’s commitment to providing its population with sufficient, safe and nutritious food, and invites applicants from all backgrounds to join. University students and early-stage start-ups with prior experience in urban farming are especially encouraged to apply.
Food Security Research Platform
The Food Security Research Platform is an online portal that allows specialists to share their latest findings and publications across eight promising research themes. It aims to serve the needs of a wide range of stakeholders in terms of data, information and knowledge on research and development in sustainable food systems across the food value chain.
Platform priority themes
- Agricultural biotechnology: it is a range of tools, including traditional breeding techniques
- Agricultural waste: it involves using soil as sites for the treatment and disposal of organic waste and wastewater
- Alternative food: these are healthier alternatives to food that is prepared or produced by conventional methods
- Bioenergy and biomaterials: bioenergy is the use of renewable energy produced from biomaterial including natural sources
- Chain technology: it is the use of technology to enhance the flow of products and information between supply chain member organisations
- Farm IOT: It is the application of modern ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) into agriculture for monitoring the crop field and automating the irrigation system
- Novel farming: it is the application of current technologies for the development of new agricultural techniques
- Robotics: Emerging applications of robots or drones in agriculture include weed control, cloud seeding, planting seeds, harvesting, environmental monitoring and soil analysis.
Read more about the research priority themes.
Targeting mainly public and private institutions working in the research and development sector, the Food Security Research Platform is a repository of data related to research in food security in the UAE and information on key investors in the food and agriculture sectors.
The platform serves as a vessel to align research and development with the National Food Security Strategy, which enables the UAE's population to have access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food at affordable prices for an active and healthy life.
Global Food Security Index
The UAE has achieved a 10-place leap on the Global Food Security Index, moving from 31st rank in 2018 to 21st rank in 2019. This reflects the efforts of the UAE government to establish the country as a world-leading hub in innovation-driven food security.
The Global Food Security Index 2019 covered three main criteria – food availability, affordability, and quality and safety – and assessed 113 countries. Raising the UAE’s rank amongst the top 10 countries on the Global Food Security Index by 2021 is the main objective of the National Food Security Strategy.
Updated on 19 Jul 2020