Emirates Food Security Council holds second meeting for 2021 to discuss post-COVID progress

ABU DHABI, The Emirates Food Security Council held its second meeting in 2021 to discuss its commitment to ensuring that citizens and residents have ready access to adequate amounts of nutritious food at affordable prices, with a particular emphasis on food security during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the meeting, the Food and Water Security Office presented the food trade data for 2020, which showed comprehensive growth in all food trade indicators. In 2020, food imports grew by 22.8 percent, exports by 49.7 percent, and re-exports by 12.7 percent, compared to 2019. The data also showed that 2020 was the highest performing of the past five years.

The meeting’s agenda included a review of the recommendations from the council’s previous meetings and related achievements during the intervening period, as well as a presentation of the UAE’s food trade data in 2020 and an assessment of the Food Price Index of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation.

Chaired by Mariam Almheiri, Minister of State for Food and Water Security, the meeting was held virtually, with the participation of representatives of the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology, the Ministry of Health and Prevention, the Ministry of Education, the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority, the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority, the Dubai Municipality, the Sharjah Health Authority, the Ajman Municipality and Planning Department, the Umm Al Qaiwain Municipality, the Ras Al Khaimah Environment Protection and Development Authority, and the Fujairah Municipality.

During the meeting, Almheiri affirmed that the UAE’s interest in food security is growing, in light of the global challenges that require finding practical solutions to the issues affecting the entire food value chain, noting that the council is working to translate the vision and directives of the country’s leadership into relevant projects, initiatives and procedures.

“The UAE has proven its ability to face and overcome various challenges, especially during this current critical period. We have succeeded in establishing frameworks for building a resilient food system infrastructure ready to deal with rapidly changing circumstances. The council’s business model is an example of joint cooperation, through which we strive to enhance national food security and contribute to the UAE’s sustainable development processes, as part of the preparations for the next 50 years,” she said.

“Through our joint efforts, we look forward to enhancing local food production in the UAE, to improve our self-sufficiency in several strategic commodities, while upgrading our infrastructure to ensure the advancement of the food supply chain and facilitates food trade. We believe that the support of our leadership and our innovative initiatives, such as the Food Tech Valley, will help transform the UAE into a leading international hub for innovation-driven food security,” she added.

The office then reviewed the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Food Price Index.

The Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority reviewed the Agri-Food Data Dashboard, which contains all data related to food, such as population and consumption, local production, food prices and trade.

The meeting assessed the work of the National Committee to Facilitate Global Food Trade and Diversify Food Import Sources, headed by the Ministry of Economy, and its members discussed the economic feasibility of providing modern farms with carbon dioxide to improve their agricultural productivity.

Source: Emirates News Agency