Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 1st April 2019: Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority, Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, Minister of State responsible for future food security, opened the 6th edition of the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture in Abu Dhabi, in the presence of His Excellency Dr. Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zaidi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment .
The Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture held on the 1st and 2nd of April, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center (ADNEC), in conjunction with the region’s largest honey production conference and exhibition ApiArab Expo. Over 310 exhibitors are displaying their cutting-edge products and services and over 50 game-changing innovations are being shown at the forum for the first time, cementing GFIA’s position as the world’s largest showcase of agricultural technology innovation.
Speaking at the forum on behalf of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, HE Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, Minister of State responsible for future food security, said: 'The Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture has become a platform for dialogue and international cooperation to address the challenges of food security. This year, we decided to focus on ways to employ Artificial Intelligence in improving the efficiency of safe food provision to the world’s population, keeping pace with the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0). Only unconventional efforts which are based on knowledge and innovation and which adopt modern technology in developing the agricultural sector are capable of responding to the food needs of increasing populations.”
Her Excellency stressed that the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture translates the meanings of the civilizational and humanitarian achievement achieved by the UAE thanks to the vision of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, The Ruler of Dubai and His Highness the Rulers of the UAE. It also underlines the pioneering role of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in promoting the concepts of sustainable development, assuring our international commitment to contribute to solving the food problem, and finding innovative solutions to ensure sustainable resources.
She added: 'Today, and throughout our fruitful cooperation, we are keen on identifying new prospects and opportunities which would promote food security, and, at the same time, reduce the growing demand on water and energy resources as it leaves serious consequences on the ecosystem. This requires all of us to maximize the use of advanced technology and available techniques, especially AI, and incorporate them in agricultural operations. We also pin great hopes on this forum which hosts an elite of experts and around 200 competent bodies to highlight the endeavours of Abu Dhabi aiming to enhance knowledge in agriculture, food and biosecurity.”
“We are truly honoured that Abu Dhabi constantly endeavours to take the lead in adopting modern and cutting-edge technology, and we take pride in the initiative championed recently by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, by pledging AED 5.6 billion to support research and development and find innovative scientific solutions to the challenges of the world, especially water scarcity, food security, energy efficiency and artificial intelligence. In this connection, I would like to note that this initiative is a message to humanity and future generations highlighting the UAE’s awareness of its effective role to the service of humankind and its belief in the importance of scientific research and innovation to meet the challenges of food security.”
Thamer Al Qasemi, Chairman of the GFIA Organizing Committee commenting on the opening of GFIA said: “Enhancing facilitation for agribusiness and placing emphasis on sustainable and efficient ways of food production is the key objective of GFIA and it provides an important role in bringing together industry for advancement through knowledge exchange to drive innovation. Over the two-days 129 speakers will share their ideas, knowledge and expertise for the future of food innovations.’
He added: “With the recent announcement of the world’s first sustainable agriculture label introduced in the UAE, it means that ag-tech that comply to standard of sustainable production, water efficiency without chemicals innovations have a key role to play across the agriculture sector development in the UAE, and clear signal that we are open for business.’
Presenting the keynote speech Sonia Lo, CEO Crop One alongside Kieran Dowd, Vice President of Procurement, Emirates Flight Catering (EKFC) and General Manager, Emirates Crop One, who are building the largest vertical farm in the world in Dubai as part of a joint venture with Emirates Flight Catering said: “Ag-tech deployment in the use of controlled-environments agriculture, such as vertical farms, that use efficient technologies to manage inputs and maximize outputs is essential to enhance sustainable technology-enabled domestic food supply across the value chain. In a region with water scarcity and a small proportion of arable land, technology that uses sustainable production, water efficiency, without chemicals and delivers clean and traceable foods will be essential to food security. Crop One in partnership with Emirates Flight Catering (EKFC) are revolutionizing the future of vertical farming right here in the UAE.”
HH Sheikh Salem bin Sultan Al Qasimi, ANHB at the opening ceremony of ApiArab Expo and the 2nd Arab Beekeeping International Conference said: “It is the largest regional event dedicated to honey production, beekeeping and apiculture providing an essential platform to bring together leading apiculture solution suppliers and honey producers for three days of networking and knowledge sharing to give regional beekeepers the tools to expand on additional revenue streams and extend their operations sustainably for the growth of the industry here in the UAE and wider region. We are honored to include and welcome as part of this the 15th Annual Asian Apicultural Association (AAA) Conference for the first time in the UAE.'
Over 100 countries are exhibiting their products and projects promoting sustainable food production at GFIA which opens tomorrow at 10am for the second day of the conference and exhibition which will include the announcement of the prestigious GFIA Innovations awards across the Aquaculture, Dates production, Crops production, Animal productions, Indoor Farming and the best innovation start up in Agriculture.