ABU DHABI, 1st April, 2019 (WAM) — Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority, Mariam Hareb Almheiri, Minister of State for Food Security, opened the 6th edition of the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture, GFIA, in Abu Dhabi, in the presence of Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment.
The two-day Forum is being held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, ADNEC, in conjunction with the region’s largest honey production conference and exhibition ApiArab Expo. Over 310 exhibitors are displaying their products and services and over 50 innovations are being shown at the forum for the first time.
Speaking at the forum on behalf of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Mariam Almheiri, Minister of State responsible for future food security, said, “The Global Forum for Innovations in Agricultural Innovation has become a platform for dialogue and international cooperation to address the challenges of food security.
This year, we decided to focus on ways to employ Artificial Intelligence in improving the efficiency of safe food provision to the world’s population, keeping pace with the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0). Only unconventional efforts which are based on knowledge and innovation and which adopt modern technology in developing the agricultural sector are capable of responding to the food needs of increasing populations.”
She stressed that the Forum translates the meanings of the civilisational and humanitarian achievement secured by the UAE thanks to the vision of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. It also underlines the pioneering role of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in promoting the concepts of sustainable development, assuring our international commitment to contribute to solving the food problem, and finding innovative solutions to ensure sustainable resources.
She added, “Today, and throughout our fruitful cooperation, we are keen on identifying new prospects and opportunities which would promote food security, and, at the same time, reduce the growing demand on water and energy resources as it leaves serious consequences on the ecosystem. This requires all of us to maximise the use of advanced technology and available techniques, especially AI, and incorporate them in agricultural operations. We also pin great hopes on this forum which hosts an elite of experts and around 200 competent bodies to highlight the endeavours of Abu Dhabi aiming to enhance knowledge in agriculture, food and biosecurity.”
“We are truly honoured that Abu Dhabi constantly endeavours to take the lead in adopting modern and cutting-edge technology, and we take pride in the initiative championed recently by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, by pledging AED5.6 billion to support research and development and find innovative scientific solutions to the challenges of the world, especially water scarcity, food security, energy efficiency and artificial intelligence. In this connection, I would like to note that this initiative is a message to humanity and future generations highlighting the UAE’s awareness of its effective role to the service of humankind and its belief in the importance of scientific research and innovation to meet the challenges of food security.”
Thamer Al Qasemi, Chairman of the GFIA Organising Committee, commenting on the opening of GFIA, said, “Enhancing facilitation for agribusiness and placing emphasis on sustainable and efficient ways of food production is the key objective of GFIA and it provides an important role in bringing together industry for advancement through knowledge exchange to drive innovation. Over the two-day 129 speakers will share their ideas, knowledge and expertise for the future of food innovations.”
He added, “With the recent announcement of the world’s first sustainable agriculture label introduced in the UAE, it means that ag-tech that comply to standard of sustainable production, water efficiency without chemicals innovations have a key role to play across the agriculture sector development in the UAE, and clear signal that we are open for business.”
Presenting the keynote speech Sonia Lo, CEO Crop One alongside Kieran Dowd, Vice President of Procurement, Emirates Flight Catering, EKFC, and General Manager, Emirates Crop One, said, “Ag-tech deployment in the use of controlled-environments agriculture, such as vertical farms, that use efficient technologies to manage inputs and maximize outputs is essential to enhance sustainable technology-enabled domestic food supply across the value chain. In a region with water scarcity and a small proportion of arable land, technology that uses sustainable production, water efficiency, without chemicals and delivers clean and traceable foods will be essential to food security. Crop One in partnership with EKFC are revolutionising the future of vertical farming right here in the UAE.”
Sheikh Salem bin Sultan Al Qasimi, ANHB Chairman, at the opening ceremony of ApiArab Expo and the 2nd Arab Beekeeping International Conference, said, “It is the largest regional event dedicated to honey production, beekeeping and apiculture providing an essential platform to bring together leading apiculture solution suppliers and honey producers for three days of networking and knowledge sharing to give regional beekeepers the tools to expand on additional revenue streams and extend their operations sustainably for the growth of the industry here in the UAE and wider region. We are honoured to include and welcome as part of the 15th Annual Asian Apicultural Association, AAA, Conference for the first time in the UAE.”