Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) has launched its brand-new Food For Future Summit and Expo in association with Expo 2020 Dubai’s Food, Agriculture and Livelihoods Week.
Running from February 23-24, 2022 at Dubai Exhibition Centre at Expo 2020 Dubai, the Food For Future Summit & Expo will be co-located with the Global Agtech Innovation Expo to form a powerhouse of industry innovation and progression.
Hosted by the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (UN FAO) as strategic partners, the Food For Future Summit & Expo will reinforce the UAE’s National Food Security Strategy and galvanise all sectors of the agriculture and food supply chains to create a sustainable food ecosystem for all.
Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said: “We are proud to host the Food For Future Summit & Expo that brings together like-minded stakeholders from around the world to explore innovative ways of advancing the global transition to sustainable food systems. The event aligns with the UAE’s holistic approach to food security, as reflected in the National Food Security Strategy 2051, and provides an ideal platform to showcase state-of-the-art agricultural solutions that address the critical water-food-energy nexus. We are pleased to join forces with FAO once again, and are confident that its support will add significant value to the event.”
Key focus sectors will include AI & Nutrition, IoT, cloud solutions, UAV, robotics and drones, automation, adaptive irrigation, grow lighting, data management, supply chain management, climate-smart agriculture, food loss and waste, controlled environment, ICT in agriculture, mechanisation, organic agriculture, precision agriculture, biotechnology, soil plant health, saltwater agriculture, renewable energy and water management.
The multi-faceted event will engage the end-to-end food and agriculture ecosystem of producers, tech providers, suppliers and consumers, through an exhibition, partner workshops - including technical training organised by the ICBA (International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture) on plant biotechnology, GIS technologies and modeling and biosaline agri-tech - investor platforms, startup programmes, a food security leadership exchange symposium, and community engagement.
The summit will also host the UAE Food Technology Challenge and the region’s first dedicated Agri-Tech food contest for startups, the MENA Agri-Food Tech Challenge, organised in partnership with Thought for Food.
“Food insecurity remains a critical issue which has been increasing over the past six years; it now affects one quarter of the world’s population,” said Trixie LohMirmand, executive vice president, Events Management, DWTC. “In response, a paradigm shift is under way in global food production and the world is turning to the agritech sector for innovative solutions. Just recently, the UAE, Jordan and the Netherlands issued a joint call to work together on food, water and energy security by strengthening critical resources."
She added: "A recent 2022 trends forecast by the International Food Information Council said consumers in urban areas will turn to vertical agriculture in their efforts to promote sustainability, nutrition and food security. The trend is growing at hyper-speed and the inaugural Food For Future Summit and Global Agtech Innovation Expo will highlight the urgency of the challenge and explore the harvest of business opportunities that will emerge as the global agritech sector grows in value.”
The Food For Future Summit & Expo and Global Agtech Innovation Expo will bring the world’s agriculture and food supply industries to the heart of the Mena region, where the vertical farming sector alone has grown to a market value of $1.2 billion. Mena countries are ramping up agritech initiatives, with Saudi Arabia investing $665 million in local agriculture and farming; United States and UAE are partnering on Agriculture Innovation Mission (AIM) for Climate, an initiative to increase investment in climate-smart agriculture and food systems innovation from 2021-2025; Abu Dhabi is launching $270 million accelerator program to position the emirate as a global centre for agricultural desert innovation; Egypt is investing $2.1 billion in food security projects; and Kuwait’s Wafra Inc. is investing $100 million in the Pure Harvest agritech startup.
"There have never been more opportunities to improve the world through food and agriculture. The Food For Future Summit & Expo and Global Agtech Innovation Expo will highlight the latest in global food and agriculture technology across the value chain, from seed to sale. The exhibition will be accentuated with live discussions by international corporate innovators, farmers, and policymakers. Now is the time to share ideas and make plans for our collective food-secure future,” said Henry Gordon-Smith, founder & CEO of Agritecture, and an internationally recognised sustainability strategist and agritech consultant renowned for his focus on urban agriculture, water issues, and emerging technologies.
The UAE has adopted a global food security leadership role, establishing the Emirates Food Security Council (EFSCC) to strengthen national authorities’ efforts to enhance food security and meet National Food Security Strategy goals, which include topping the Global Food Security Index by 2051.
Dubai is also advancing a new Food Tech Valley to serve as a hub for tech-based food and agricultural products, and an incubator for researchers, entrepreneurs, startups, and industry experts involved in developing solutions with the potential to shape the future of the food industry. The integrated modern city will feature over 300 varieties of crops produced using modern farming and agri techniques. Dubai has also established a food export gateway giving access to a footprint of 1.5 billion people in African markets.
The Food For Future Summit & Expo will be an unparalleled platform for fast-paced and focused business discussions, industry dialogue and knowledge exchange across eight mainline features including a sourcing platform to frontier technology from some of the world’s most innovative food and agritech providers.
“We are looking forward to being part of the Food for Future Summit to restate our mission to help tackle food and water security challenges in the UAE and the region. By joining the efforts of the private sector with the support of the public sector, we believe the summit will be a key driver for successful and fruitful industry conversations,” said Haifa Alrasheed, director of Growth, Madar Farms, a Dubai-based vertical farming company.
The Summit also intends to build community awareness of food security issues, challenges, and opportunities through a Skills Building Platform featuring food security technology educational and training seminars for youths and professionals, large-scale immersive campaigns to put food security on the national agenda, hackathons and design sprints to attract the world’s top data scientists, subject matter experts, engineers, and developers. There will also be public-centric education sessions showcasing zero waste and nutrition practices.
“Our region’s climate and growing population, combined with the global pandemic, have escalated the need for food security, especially in the UAE, which imports 90 per cent of what it eats. The Future For Food Summit is crucial to the country’s ambition of improving food security,” said Athar Siddiqui, EVP of Factory Automation & Motion Controls, Siemens Middle East. “Siemens, as the Summit Digitalisation Partner and the Premier Partner for Infrastructure at Expo 2020 Dubai, is ideally placed to help shape this future.”
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