Food se­cu­rity takes cen­tre stage in Cap­i­tal

Khaleej Times - - NATION - Jas­mine Al Kut­tab jas­mine@khalee­j­

abu dhabi — With sev­eral fac­tors threat­en­ing global food sup­ply, agri­cul­ture lead­ers are com­ing to­gether to ad­dress food se­cu­rity chal­lenges at the sec­ond edi­tion of Agriscape, which will be held on Oc­to­ber 29-30 at the Rose­wood Ho­tel, Abu Dhabi.

Or­gan­ised by the Abu Dhabi Food Se­cu­rity Cen­tre Abu Dhabi (FSCAD), Agriscape has been co­or­di­nat­ing poli­cies and feed­back for the agri­cul­ture in­dus­try across the world.

It is held un­der the Pa­tron­age of Sheikh Man­sour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Min­is­ter of the UAE, Min­is­ter of Pres­i­den­tial Af­fairs.

In the UAE, 90 per cent of food needs are im­ported due to its arid cli­mate, mak­ing food se­cu­rity a na­tional pri­or­ity. As it seeks to boost lo­cal food pro­duc­tion by 40 per cent, the coun­try con­tin­ues to di­ver­sify its econ­omy and im­prove the ef­fi­ciency of sec­tors such as agri­cul­ture.

Mariam bint Hareb Al Muhairi, Min­is­ter of State for Fu­ture Food Se­cu­rity, said: “Con­sid­er­ing in­vest­ment in agri­cul­ture abroad an im­por­tant pri­or­ity to achieve food se­cu­rity, the coun­try is adopt­ing a proac­tive ap­proach by in­creas­ing agri­cul­tural ef­fi­ciency, and in­tro­duc­ing new ir­ri­ga­tion tech­nolo­gies to make farms and green­houses less wa­ter-in­ten­sive.”

Al Muhairi added that food se­cu­rity is one of the big­gest chal­lenges the world will face in the fu­ture, with the is­sue likely to be­come in­creas­ingly im­por­tant with global prices set to rise as de­mand in­creases in the years to come.

“Ac­cord­ing to the Global Food Se­cu­rity In­dex is­sued by Econ­o­mist In­tel­li­gence Unit in 2017, the UAE is con­sid­ered a food-se­cure coun­try and ranked 33rd in food se­cu­rity,” Al Muhairi said.

Global so­lu­tions sought

Ris­ing global pop­u­la­tions and the re­sult­ing pres­sure on the wa­teren­ergy-food nexus has cre­ated an ur­gent need for sus­tain­able so­lu­tions. De­plet­ing nat­u­ral re­sources have raised sev­eral so­cial, eco­nomic, and en­vi­ron­men­tal chal­lenges that call for poli­cies that guar­an­tee un­in­ter­rupted food sup­ply un­der any cir­cum­stances.

The Food and Agri­cul­ture Or­gan­i­sa­tion of the United Na­tions (FAO) re­cently re­ported that for the third year in a row, there has been a rise in the num­ber of peo­ple liv­ing in food inse­cu­rity whose num­ber may have now reached one-eighth of the world pop­u­la­tion.

Due to in­sta­bil­ity in con­flict­prone re­gions, ad­verse cli­mate events, and eco­nomic dis­tress, FAO es­ti­mates that the num­ber of un­der­nour­ished peo­ple glob­ally is now nearly 821 mil­lion. With the to­tal global pop­u­la­tion ex­pected to reach 9.6 bil­lion peo­ple by 2050, the agri­cul­ture pro­duc­tion needs to be in­creased by 70 per cent.

The growth in agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion will shift pat­terns of re­source gen­er­a­tion and con­sump­tion, while the ef­fects of cli­mate change, such as se­vere droughts and shrink­ing wa­ter­sheds, threaten to im­pact the ge­o­graph­i­cal distri­bu­tion of the world pop­u­la­tion.

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