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Officials at the event

UAE highlights its ‘Sustainable Agricultural Methods’ at FAO

UAE, June 27, 2019

Major steps taken by the UAE to ensure high-quality, sustainable food production for its citizens and residents were highlighted at a Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Conference in Rome, Italy.

A senior UAE delegation headed by Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, Minister of State for Food Security, discussed the UAE’s efforts to develop ‘Sustainable Agricultural Methods’ to promote a steady output of quality food products, at the 41st FAO conference.

The conference, which opened on June 22 and will run until June 29, is discussing the latest challenges and developments in food security. 

Almheiri reiterated the UAE’s commitment through its relentless efforts and its ambitious National Food Security Strategy, to remain on top of all food security developments and issues around the world, said a statement.

“The UAE is working to establish the basic fundamentals for its food security; it is a national priority we intend to implement by developing a set of integrated procedures and plans of action that bring all stakeholders together,” she explained in her keynote address at the conference.

The Minister of State for Food Security was accompanied by Omar Obaid Mohamed Al Shamsi, the UAE’s Ambassador to Italy; and Engineer Fatima Obaid Al Kalbani, the UAE’s permanent representative at the FAO, it said.

The delegation also included Dr Abdul Wahab Zayed, secretary general of the Khalifa International Award for Date Palm and Agricultural Innovation; Ahmad Al Mulla, deputy head of the UAE’s Mission to Italy; and Samia Arifi, director of the office of the Minister of State for Food Security, it added.

“Furthermore, the UAE has developed national requirements for food products and labels, and launched the Government Agtech Accelerators Programme, which seeks to identify and overcome obstacles preventing the adoption of modern agricultural technologies that have been tailored to the conditions of the UAE, such as urban farming,” she added.

Almheiri noted: “Innovation is the leading theme of the National Food Security Strategy in the UAE, which seeks to make the UAE one of the 10 most food-secure countries in the world by 2021.”

“Technology was singled out from the beginning as the key to improving our food security situation in the UAE. As it stands, we are 31st on a global scale in terms of food security. While the UAE is considered to be ‘food-secure’, that security has been ensured through importing 90 per cent of our food, which places our supply chain at high risk, especially in such a volatile region,” she added.

Almheiri underlined the mission of the National Food Security Strategy to establish the UAE as a world leader in innovative food security. “We are not only looking at food security at the national level, we are committed to our role as a global player in food security, which is why the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are integrated into all of our national strategies,” she added.

Taking part in the FAO Conference is a number of influential ministers and representatives of member states, where this year’s edition served as the backdrop for electing a new Secretary General for the Organisation.

In a secret ballot held on Sunday, June 23, FAO members elected Dr Qu Dongyu, China’s Vice Minister for Agriculture, as the new secretary general to head this international organisation working to eliminate hunger, added the statement.

Dr Qu had won the absolute majority of votes in the first round with 108 votes, against 71 votes for French candidate Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle, and 12 for Georgian candidate David Kirvalidze. Qu is now the Organisation’s first Chinese Secretary-General.

Mariam Almheiri congratulated the new secretary general on his achievements, wishing him continued success in his duties, and relaying the UAE’s aspirations for further cooperation with the FAO in its efforts to achieve global food security.

Dr Qu Dongyu said: “This is indeed a historic event and a milestone for food and agriculture sectors around the world. I promise to exert every possible effort, to unbiasedly serve all countries, and to adopt a pragmatic approach to fighting world hunger.”

The new secretary general, who will take office on August 1 and continue until July 31, 2023, will succeed current secretary-general José Graziano da Silva of Brazil, who has completed two terms at the head of the organisation.

Set to leave office in August, da Silva had inaugurated first session of the conference – the most prominent body bringing government representatives of all 194 member states – where discussions explored the state of food and agriculture around the world.

On day one of the biennial Conference, participants attended the McDougall Memorial Lecture in honour of Australian economist Frank Lidgett McDougall, one of earliest advocates for establishing the FAO.

Delivering the address this year was Graça Machel, International Advocate for Children’s and Women’s Rights, Honorary Member of the FAO Nobel Peace Laureates Alliance.

The conference will feature a series of side events focusing on progress in various sectors and areas of the food sector. The topics range from food security, nutrition, and biodiversity, to the role of young people in agriculture. Furthermore, the event will include the “Ghaf Tree Planting Campaign”, organised by the UAE to celebrate the Year of Tolerance, it stated. – TradeArabia News Service




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