UAE climbs 10 spots on food security index
Ninety per cent of the UAE's total food comes from imports, owing to issues such as water scarcity.- Alamy Image
Dubai - Enhancing the UAE's competitiveness and leadership is a main objective of the National Food Security Strategy.
The UAE has ranked 21st on the Global Food Security Index this year - a 10-place leap from last year's 31st place - reflecting how far the country has come in establishing itself as a world leader in innovation-driven food security.
"The UAE's impressive improvement in the Global Food Security Index is a testament to the tremendous progress we have made. This is the result of a team effort from the Food Security Office, government entities, private-sector partners and the community to build an integrated ecosystem that can take concrete steps in the national food security sector," said Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of State for Food Security.
"Enhancing the UAE's competitiveness and leadership is a main objective of the National Food Security Strategy, which has the goal of taking the UAE into the top 10 countries on the Global Food Security Index by 2021."
Issued each year by the Economist Intelligence Unit, the Global Food Security Index covered three main criteria - food availability, affordability, and quality and safety - and assessed 113 countries.
Singapore and Ireland maintained their lead from last year, coming in first and second place, respectively, while the US, Switzerland, Finland, and Norway were ranked at third, fourth, fifth, and sixth place.
Rounding up the top 10 were Sweden, Canada, the Netherlands and Austria.
The UAE's move of 10 places up the index saw it overtake highly competitive nations in the food security sector, including Italy, Spain and South Korea.
Ninety per cent of the UAE's total food comes from imports, owing to issues such as water scarcity, lack of arable land and rapidly growing population. But the country is determined to rise above these challenges.
"Our leadership has issued clear and ambitious directives to transform the UAE into a world-leading hub in innovation-driven food security with clearly set targets. The constant and committed support we receive from our leadership is a strong incentive for the team to transform challenges into opportunities and successes," Almheiri said.
Almheiri was appointed as Minister of State for Food Security in 2017 with a mandate to tackle the country's food challenges. And the minister's team has been addressing these issues by focusing on three main aspects: planning, adopting advanced technologies, and enhancing research and development.
In 2018, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, launched the National Food Security Strategy, which seeks to diversify food import sources; develop sustainable local production; reduce food loss and waste; ensure food safety and improve nutrition systems for the community; and improve resilience to risks and crises.