'Game changers' needed to ensure food security
The government is looking at game-changing innovation, breakthrough technologies, joint ventures and new partners to ensure food security for future generations, a top official said during the launch of the inaugural edition of EuroTier Middle East - a leading trade show for animal husbandry and livestock management.
Earlier in March, the Abu Dhabi Government had approved Dh1 billion stimulus package to attract global partnerships supporting research and development in agricultural technology.
Saeed Al Bahri Salem Al Ameri, director general of the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority, the strategic partner of Eurotier Middle East, said that the fund boosts efforts to build a sustainable food and agriculture sector.
"The government in mandated to enable the private sector and introduce right technologies for this region. The fund is to stimulate joint ventures and start-ups to serve the industry. We are looking for game changers. We are looking at technologies that will help the industry take the next step, i.e., to produce the most with the least," he told Khaleej Times at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. "We want to enable the private sector. We want to promote all investment opportunities in Abu Dhabi. The government has put decades of huge investment into infrastructure and giving support to farmers. We want to see a return on this investment and contribution into the economy."
Al Ameri also said that the government is making all efforts to protect farmers and livestock. "We, at the authority, put a lot of effort in promoting best practices and protecting all the local breeds. We have 24,000 farmers in Abu Dhabi and 3.5 million animals, which is a big wealth. We need to ensure our farmers are using right practices. This will lead to food security. Our objective is to ensure food security through sustainable agriculture, bio-security and food safety."
Al Ameri noted that the three-day EuroTier Middle East, held in the region for the first time, is a platform for exchange of technical know-how, to innovate and in turn maintain stable food production.
"Not just Abu Dhabi but the entire region will benefit. With transfer of know-how, the farmers will benefit and it will lead to increase in productivity. This will mean there is more returns on investment and higher profitability, which are our main objectives," he added.
The opening day saw range of exhibitors display their best techniques and practices, farmers flaunted their well-groomed livestock and experts held workshop on nutrition and breeding. On Tuesday, the EuroTier Middle East International Conference will open with specialists in animal production and biosecurity highlighting pressing issues in the animal husbandry sector.