World Food Day: UAE says challenge is technology

'FoodTech Challenge' to speed up agroalimentary production

16 October, 17:02

    ROME - The United Arab Emirates' (UAE) minister for food safety, Mariam bint Saeed Hareb Al Mehairi, spoke at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome on Wednesday, World Food Day.

    She said technology, agtech solutions, and start ups with young entrepreneurs are the keys to speeding up agricultural production in areas with scarce water resources and contributing to the Zero Hunger goal.

    "To achieve this dream, with agtech solutions we can speed up agroalimentary production including in extreme areas such as the desert," Mehairi said.

    "In the UAE, only 5% of the land is arable, but with modern technologies we want to increase yields 30% by 2030," she said.

    She said one of the UAE's plans is called "FoodTech Challenge".

    "It's a contest to promote international collaboration in finding innovative solutions through raising awareness of the value of food," she said.

    "It is open to candidates from around the world and is looking for commercially practical solutions that are at the same time compatible with the environment of the UAE, awarding four teams with prizes totaling one million dollars. Nominations for the FoodTech Challenge will remain open until April 2020," she said.

    "We want agrotechnicians of the future, and the agrotech sector can be attractive for talented young people and women," Mehairi said, adding that the UAE is already able to cultivate quinoa and grow salicornia with brackish water.

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