Forum to discuss sustainable agriculture in GCC
Abu Dhabi, January 11, 2014
The Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA), one of the world’s largest showcase of game-changing innovations in sustainable agriculture, will be held in Abu Dhabi from February 3 to 5.
The event, to be held under the theme ‘Driving Innovation for an Agricultural Revolution,’ will bring together an unprecedented array of world-renowned innovators, investors, food producers, retailers, governments, scientists, NGOs and agricultural organisations, said the organisers.
The forum aims to have a strong focus on high-tech, sustainable agricultural technologies that can profitably benefit the GCC nations.
The multi-faceted event will also feature an exhibition and conference, comprising keynote sessions, panel discussions, an African Ministerial debate and 150 presentations, they added.
“GFIA is of particular relevance to the GCC region, as it seeks to highlight the sustainable agriculture initiatives and innovations being planned and deployed across the world, particularly in regions characterized by water shortages and infertile land. The support of GCC governments will be crucial in transferring this knowledge to the regional agricultural sector,” remarked Mark Beaumont, GFIA project director.
“Market-leading international agribusiness companies and financiers including Cargill, Anterra Capital (formerly Rabobank Ventures) and agricultural portfolio manager Acumen will all be present at GFIA,” stated Beaumont.
“It represents an ideal opportunity for GCC policymakers, food producers and buyers to learn of new, innovative ways to sustainably increase productivity and reduce food insecurity,” he noted.
According to him, food insecurity was a major challenge felt particularly acutely in the GCC, due to the region’s hot climate, limited water resources and generally poor land quality, where burgeoning populations in arid regions are placing a strain on the capacity of nations to feed their citizens.
GCC governments are aware of the food security threat to the region, and are placing great importance on countering the threat. he added.
Bahrain’s Labour Fund (Tamkeen) is investing in farms to increase productivity, with the kingdom also investing in ground water storage tanks to ensure there is enough supply for the agricultural sector.
The Qatar National Food Security Programme is actively looking to increase local agricultural productivity to help with the nation’s almost total reliance on imported food and a rapidly growing population. The Qatar-based Sahara Forest Project has shown that it is possible to develop a self-sufficient food production system in the desert, while also producing energy as a by-product.
Kuwait has seen the successful introduction of hydroponics technologies in the agricultural sector, testament to the nation’s embrace of new, innovative technologies. The country is also investing heavily in water-saving technologies and productive agricultural land abroad.
Oman’s government is introducing water saving programmes to complement the Sultanate’s already highly effective traditional falaj irrigation system, whereby water from aquifers is distributed around fields via a complex system of channels and watercourses. Oman is also looking to expand the growing aquaculture sector.
The event will be held in strategic partnership with the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA).
Mohamed Jalal Al Rayssi, ADFCA’s director of communication and community service, said: “The leadership of the UAE has placed the full weight of its resources and political will behind taking a leading 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 demonstrating the investment opportunities available to regional and international stakeholders,” he added.-TradeArabia News Service