UAE's food security stations to help youth become entrepreneurs

Dubai - As part of the scheme, MOCCAE will establish state-of-the-art integrated centres for modern agriculture across the country.

By Saman Haziq

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Dr Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, made the announcement at a special ceremony organized by MOCCAE.
Dr Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, made the announcement at a special ceremony organized by MOCCAE.

Published: Mon 14 Jun 2021, 10:50 AM

Last updated: Mon 14 Jun 2021, 8:50 PM

‘Food security stations’ will soon be cropping up across the country — aiming to encourage the Emirati youth to pursue careers in agriculture and establish high-tech farms.

The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE), in collaboration with the National and Reserve Service Authority, on Monday launched the initiative called Youth Food Security Stations.

It was a project anchored on the UAE’s drive towards greater food self-sufficiency.

Dr Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, stressed that the Covid-19 pandemic has become a catalyst in pushing the country to look at bolstering local food production and getting the youth involved in the agriculture sector.

Speaking to Khaleej Times at the launch of the programme, Al Nuaimi said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has been a learning experience for us as it compelled us to think what would happen if another disaster struck, not necessarily here but in places from where we import. We import from over 64 countries and our supply would be majorly affected if some calamity strikes. To ensure steady and secure supply of food to our residents, it is important to boost local produce and improve the agricultural skills of youth and enable them to manage the latest agricultural systems.”

Across the country, the MOCCAE will establish five state-of-the-art stations for modern agriculture where the youth can learn farming skills and how to manage modern farming systems to improve productivity.

The first station will be set up in Abu Dhabi this year, where participants will be enrolled and selected. The project will be done in phases and each phase will see the execution of a new station focused on different kinds of training, Dr Al Nuaimi said.

Through the project, young Emiratis can become entrepreneurs focusing on crops, livestock, beekeeping, and aquaculture, thus actively contributing to national food security.

“The youth food stations are designed for the youth to excel in the field of agriculture. Initially, there will be five stations across the UAE, with the first one in Abu Dhabi that will see 50 to 70 Emiratis undergo ag-tech training, where they will get a chance to understand networking, marketing and the agriculture business.

“We will then move on to other stations in other emirates that will be set up next year and focus on other aspects of training the youth. The programme is not designed for any set period but aims to help our Emirati youth set up their businesses in this field of agriculture,” Dr Al Nuaimi added.

At the new stations, young Emiratis will learn the theories, practices, and all the different aspects of agriculture — like greenhouses, poultry, beehives, experiments incubator, aquaponic systems, livestock, agricultural waste management, aquaculture development ponds, organic agriculture system, hydroponics system, harvesting and post-harvest process, storage, cooling, packing, vertical farming, all the way to transportation and marketing of the products.

The ministry also continues to motivate and engage the youth in agricultural entrepreneurship by linking them with relevant financing institutions, Dr Al Nuaimi said.

An advanced agricultural guidance system is also in place to encourage Emirati farmers to adopt sustainable agricultural practices and systems that help preserve natural resources and maximise the benefits of the latest technologies.

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