- AgraME 2023, organised under the patronage of the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, is the biggest in the event’s history, with more than 250 exhibitors from 150-plus countries
- MoCCE committed to raising the percentage of government procurement from domestic farms to 100% by 2030
- Underskilled workers holding back the regional industry from fully embracing food tech resilience, hears AgraME
Dubai, UAE – : Under the patronage of the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, AgraME, the region’s largest and most advanced agriculture event, ended its two-day run at the Dubai World Trade Centre yesterday as the regional and global agriculture industry came together to showcase the latest innovations set to revolutionise the future of food security, as well as discuss trends shaping the landscape as the United Arab Emirates gears up to host COP28 in just over a month’s time.
The exhibition was officially inaugurated by His Excellency Eng Mohammed Mousa Al Ameeri, Assistant Under-Secretary of the Food Diversity Sector at the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment. During his keynote, Al Ameeri emphasised that bolstering sustainable food security stands as a paramount strategic objective for the Emirates. He pointed out that fortifying sustainable agricultural and food systems is a cornerstone of the country’s endeavours for the upcoming COP28 set to take place in the Emirates next month.
“Sustainable agricultural and food systems offer a forward-thinking remedy to elevate food security while also making a substantial contribution to climate action.” said Al Ameeri. “Conventional food systems are responsible for roughly one-third of global emissions. Within the scope of the National Food Security Strategy, the UAE is actively pursuing this approach by deploying cutting-edge agricultural technology that conserves vital natural resources, particularly water, and does not rely on soil. The UAE boasts numerous agricultural initiatives and projects in this space.
In the UAE, we have launched the National Farm Sustainability Initiative, which aims to augment local food production and boost the income of farmers. This will be achieved by raising the percentage of government procurement from these farms to 100 per cent by 2030.”
His Excellency also reiterated the importance of sponsoring AgraME, which reflects the commitment of the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment to support efforts aimed at enhancing national food security.
Also speaking during the event’s opening keynote sessions was Henry Gordon-Smith, Founder and CEO of industry consulting firm Agritecture. According to Gordon-Smith, how to grow for rising populations and the lack of upskilled workers dealing with the latest technologies are some of the main issues that need addressing.
“Almost a third of the world is desert, and it’s growing rapidly,” he said. “We also need to figure out how to grow for the populations here, which are continually on the rise, combined with the lack of arable land and the declining water sources. I believe 12 out of 17 of the most water-insecure countries are in the MENA region, so this is really urgent. When we talk about sustainable agriculture, it’s a pretty ambitious thing to achieve. It’s about conserving the environment and using resources more efficiently. You must be economically viable to be sustainable to hit that triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit.
“We recently conducted a survey showing that most farms in the UAE and Egypt face skilled labour gaps. So, what’s happening is there are a lot of workers coming into the market that have a basic understanding of the technology, but don’t fully understand how to properly utilise it to its full potential or implement fixes when something goes wrong. We need to focus on the foundation of food security in many ways, which is the people, so training and upskilling certifications are something that will help the longevity of the region as more of these massive projects get built.”
AgraME, which is organised by Informa Connect, hosted more than 250 exhibitors from 150+ countries over the two days, packing the 8,280sqm show. The exhibitor line-up included some of the industry’s most prominent and innovative contributors, including Al Dahra, Cultivat’d, Flora Engineering, Food Tech Valley, AquaBioTech, Maag, Montel, the Indoor Farm Company, and Emirates Development Bank.
The exhibition stands showcased cutting-edge agricultural technology and processes in arable farming, horticulture, aquaculture, and animal farming. In addition to meeting more than 250 industry leaders in one place, visitors also had access to two seminar streams, AgraME and HortiME, which delved into the most challenging issues facing the agricultural sector today, including the adoption of modern processes to increase crop yields, advanced bio-stimulants, and regenerative agriculture practices for enhanced crop production.
Brent Crosbie, Exhibition Director of AgraME, said: “With an increased focus this year on sustainability and food security, it is fantastic to see the regional and global industry come together to showcase their latest innovations, collaborate, and have meaningful discussions on pressing topics that will no doubt translate to action as the UAE gears up to host COP28 next month. The fact that this year ushered in our largest event to date is a testament to the dedication of our industry to tackle food security and forge long-term partnerships that will hopefully drive change in years to come.”
Three dedicated vertical exhibitions are also located alongside AgraME to ensure 360-degree coverage of the sector. AquaME is the region’s premier event for aquaculture professionals; the HortiME Exhibition and Conference is the region’s premier event for vertical farming and greenhouse professionals, which for the first time is specifically focused on products and technologies from within the horticulture and controlled environment sector; and AgroFarm, the largest livestock exhibition in the Middle East.