Mark Beaumont and Mohamed Jalal Al Rayssi
Abu Dhabi to host global farm experts
Abu Dhabi, November 25, 2013
Abu Dhabi will take Middle East leadership in food security when the emirate hosts the world’s largest showcase of game-changing innovations in sustainable agriculture in February next year.
The Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA) will be held in Abu Dhabi from February 3 to 5 under the Patronage of Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nayhan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs of the UAE.
The event will showcase over 150 innovations from about 45 countries as part of the programme.
With the key theme of ‘driving innovation for an agricultural revolution,’ the event seeks to highlight the sustainable agriculture initiatives being planned and deployed across the world to increase food security and safeguard future sources of home-grown food, particularly in a regions characterized by water shortages and infertile land, said a statement.
The event will be held in strategic partnership with the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, with the University of Arizona as Knowledge Partner.
Mohamed Jalal Al Rayssi, the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority’s Director of Communication and Community Service, said on the relevance of the event for the UAE and the region: “The leadership of the UAE has placed the full weight of its resources and political will behind taking a leadership role in the movement to design and implement sustainable agricultural initiatives in arid and semi-arid regions.”
“Our goal is to unite the Middle East behind sustainable solutions for food security and to harness new technologies for our desert landscape. GFIA is key to facilitating knowledge transfer and to demonstrate investment opportunities available to regional and international players.”
Agriculture must meet the needs of a world population of nine billion by 2050 – failure to do so will have catastrophic consequences. In response to the real threats posed by global water shortages, pollution and climate change, thousands of innovators and scientists around the world are employing cutting-edge technology to create agricultural solutions.
GFIA project director Mark Beaumont said: “The GFIA will present the world’s largest collection of sustainable agriculture inventions and pool together the highest level of experts, investors and suppliers to show the world how big ideas can be used to boost food production and solve the world's ever increasing food needs. The GFIA agenda was designed by a steering committee of 20 international experts in the fields of academia, R&D, science, industry and investment."
Dr Faisal Awawdeh, regional coordinator of The International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), one of GFIA’s Foundation Partners, applauded the initiative.
He said: “This conference is the largest gathering of innovators in agriculture to date in the world, and a more timely event could not be imagined. Solutions in agriculture represent the difference between a future characterised by famine and uneven development, and one where sustainable access to food and responsible stewardship of the land mean that no one will go hungry. The conference program is geared toward solving urgent problems, in the company of some of the world’s foremost experts in the field. As the first and largest sustainable agriculture gathering in the world, we expect GFIA to pave the way for an agricultural revolution.”
The multi-faceted event will feature an exhibition and conference, comprising keynote sessions, panel discussions, an African Ministerial debate and 150 presentations; an incubator zone sponsored by the Khalifa Fund, which will provide a low-cost space for UAE and international entrepreneurs to showcase their ideas and prototypes; an Innovation Zone curated by the University of Arizona, where working models of some of the most inspiring innovations in agriculture today will be featured; technical tours to a range of sustainable agriculture projects in the UAE; UAE Farmer Focus, where a dedicated program will educate UAE farmers on the benefits of sustainable agriculture; and an NGO Zone, where NGO’s, development agencies and charitable foundations can meet and share ideas. - TradeArabia News Service