UAE Minister highlights country’s approach to enhancing agricultural resilience to climate change

NEW YORK, Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, participated in a breakout session on agriculture and land use, climate change, and sustainable solutions, as part of the Bloomberg Global Business Forum 2019.

The forum took place on the sidelines of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in New York, bringing together leaders from the public and private sectors worldwide to explore threats to economic prosperity.

As a panelist, Dr. Al Zeyoudi emphasised that the globalised nature of the food supply chain means no country, region, or continent can afford to ignore food security issues.

“In the UAE, we rely heavily on innovation and state-of-the-art agricultural technologies to enhance food diversity and security in the face of environmental challenges, such as scarce freshwater resources and arable land, which are amplified by climate change. Modern farming solutions, such as optimised greenhouse design, hydroponics, vertical agriculture, netting systems, and closed-system greenhouses, significantly improve crop productivity and quality, while reducing the environmental footprint,” said the Minister.

“Diversification is the key to food security, therefore we have developed a food diversification strategy with technical support from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations that focuses on the sustainable use of our precious natural resources, such as groundwater,” Dr. Al Zeyoudi added.

Speaking about the country’s drive to boost local agricultural production, he noted, “We are implementing programmes to encourage subsistence-level farmers to adopt commercial agriculture and embrace modern cultivation practices, in order to increase their contributions to the local food supply.”

Noting the vital role of research and development in ensuring food sustainability for any country, Dr. Al Zeyoudi said, “The UAE aims to make agriculture and food a priority for academic and research programmes, and channel the available funds into food-relevant R and D to develop solutions that are applicable to the local environment and conditions.”

He reiterated the UAE’s commitment to strengthening international cooperation to fuel concerted action on environmental issues. The Minister visited the head office of New York University, which has a satellite campus in Abu Dhabi, and the Stevens Institute of Technology, a private research university with a mission to inspire, nurture and educate leaders in tomorrow’s technology-centric world.

Source: Emirates News Agency