The U.A.E. is becoming a world leader in innovation-driven food security. Faced with an arid climate and unpredictable growing conditions, the U.A.E. has long been dependent on food imports to feed its population. Moreover, climate change and regional instability threaten the continued availability of fresh produce, meat, and grains.
In response, the U.A.E. has appointed a Minister of State for Food and Water Security and begun to invest in innovative agricultural techniques and crops that can withstand its desert climate—most notably algae and dates. Leading Emirati food producers are also playing a major role in the country’s food security efforts. A group of companies known as the “Food Security Alliance,” is working to diversify sourcing locations and crop varieties to hedge against geopolitical instability and climate change.
Given the expertise of American food producers, the U.A.E. has turned to the U.S. as a key partner in its work to not only provide abundant and nutritious food to its growing population, but also to advance innovative agtech solutions. The two countries have also partnered on agricultural innovation as part of the solution to climate change. U.A.E. Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, announced the Agricultural Innovation Mission for Climate during President Biden’s April 2021 Leaders Summit on Climate Change.
H.E. Mariam Almheiri, U.A.E. Minister of State for Food and Water Security, recognizing potential in U.S.-U.A.E. partnerships, worked with the Business Council to arrange for ten U.S. agtech companies to visit the U.A.E. for a series of ministerial and private sector meetings in February 2020. U.S. delegates included CEOs of vertical farms, shipping container farms, a blockchain livestock tracking company, and leading irrigation components producers. The Business Council’s Department of Commerce-certified mission paved the way for new U.S.-U.A.E. partnerships and built a foundation for continued cooperation involving both public and private sector stakeholders.
Building on the success of this mission, and recognizing the increasing importance of this sector to the U.A.E., the Business Council continues to strengthen bilateral partnerships in food and water security by advancing dialogue through conversations with Her Excellency Mariam Almheiri, U.A.E. Minister of State for Food and Water Security, and her office, sharing industry-specific information, making connections, and supporting a growing portfolio of involved member companies. The Business Council has also published a study on agtech in the U.A.E. which serves to showcase U.S.-U.A.E. cooperation in the space and highlight opportunities for businesses to support food and water security.