Video: Sheikh Mohammed launches new hub to promote food security in Dubai

Called Food Technology Valley, it is the latest among Dubai's specialised cities and will seek to host both agricultural and food companies.

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Dubai on Saturday launched another initiative to promote food security by launching the first phase of Food Technology Valley in the emirate.

By Muzaffar Rizvi/Dubai khaleejtimes.com

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched this new development project to promote agritech and food security in Dubai.

“The UAE’s food trade exceeds AED100 billion annually. Our country is a global food logistics hub, and we will work to create a nurturing environment for agribusinesses to develop new farming technologies and enhance our future food security,” Sheikh Mohammed tweeted on Saturday.

Food Technology Valley is the latest move to promote Dubai among the specialised cities and will help attract global brands in agricultural and food sectors. The project will include a research centre, corporate headquarters, logistical stores and vertical and water cultivation areas, among others.

“We launched the first phase of Food Tech Valley, a new modern & vibrant city that will serve as a global destination for start-ups and industry experts in the food ecosystem. It will host R&D facilities, innovation center, smart food logistics hub and areas for vertical farming,” Sheikh Mohammed tweet added.

Dubai’s food trade hit Dh52 billion

Dubai’s external foodstuff trade totalled Dh52 billion in 2020 as the consumptions recorded a steady growth in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The food trade included imports worth Dh34.7 billion while exports and re-exports reached at Dh10 billion and Dh7.3 billion, respectively.

In terms of volume, food trade weighed 17 million tonnes and included 12.5 million tonnes imports, 3.1 million tonnes exports and 1.3 million tonnes re-exports last year.

“Food security is gaining more importance under the current circumstances, and the challenges posed by the pandemic which swept across the world,” said Nassim Al Mehairi, Manager of Statistics Section at Dubai Customs.

Experts hail food initiative

Saad Maniar, senior partner at Crowe, said demand for food and water is constantly going to increase and will continue to be the basic necessity.

“Thinking about sustainability ahead of time is a smart decision and this will have lasting values in the long term,” Maniar told Khaleej Times on Saturday.

Besides having technology, he said the key to food sustainability is having fertile land, enough water supply and an adequate climate.

“In view of global climate change, food security will be a challenge for the world in near future and the initiative is taken at the right time to promote Dubai as a food hub in the region,” he said.

Dubai always at forefront

Shailesh Dash, an entrepreneur and financier, said Dubai has always been at the forefront of adopting new technologies which makes it the City of the Future.

“This development announced today shows the vision of the leadership as food security is one of the key ingredients to be self-reliant and also caters to the requirement of the country as well as the nearby region. This clearly shows the leadership of Dubai as a city state which is always changing to the ever-changing needs of the society, consumers and economies of the region,” Dash said.

Futuristic approach

Ahmed Shaikhani, president, Pakistan Business Council (Dubai), said it’s a very futuristic approach to overcome any future challenges, if arise.

“Since Covid changed the entire environment of countries, it’s now essential that every country should have their own resources of food, agriculture and manufacturing facilities of food-related products. There were some challenges to ensure food supply chain due to Covid-19 crisis and the essentials were stuck or delayed because of transportation or logistical issues in sea vessels and air transport,” Shaikhani told Khaleej Times on Saturday.

He said Dubai is also a trade hub of food and food-related items, so it creates a positive impact on business and improve the economic activities in the region.

“As Expo 2021 is ahead, this is a very positive approach and right move towards the growth,” Shaikhani said.

A great initiative

Kamal Vachani, group director of Al Maya Group, said Dubai’s new Food Technology Valley is another great initiative launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

“Dubai is truly a modern hub for food and beverages trade and this initiative will further enhance Dubai’s position as one of the top sustainable cities. It will attract more F&B companies to establish businesses in Dubai and take advantage of more than Dh100 billion food trade annually,” Vachani told Khaleej Times on Saturday.

“Countries across the world have expressed concern about food security. This new city will offer a dedicated platform to food-related companies and it will help to consolidate Dubai’s future food security,” he added. More