26 March 2018 – DUBAI, UAE: Founding Chairman of the Al Habtoor Group Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor welcomed Her Excellency Mariam Bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Al Mehairi, Minister of State for Future Food Security, at the Al Habtoor Group head office.
They discussed global food insecurity and the United Arab Emirates agricultural efforts to plan for the future.
Her Excellency told Al Habtoor that food security is a “complex issues” and that for the UAE to be a successful food exporter it requires the cooperation between the public and private sector. She said that Abu Dhabi currently produces 120 tonnes of Hammour per year.
HE Al Mehairi added that the UAE is aware of the challenges ahead including global environmental changes and worldwide population increases which put a strain on future supplies. She said Urban Farming is the future. Her Excellency said that engaging the UAE youth is of paramount importance for the UAE to meet future demand. “We need to make our agricultural sector an economy of scale to ensure there is adequate supply for our growing population and to cement our position as an agricultural exporter,” she said. “We need to engage the youth to optimise our potential.”
The Minister said the UAE is studying many options including the launch of high-tech greenhouses. She highlighted the importance of pilot studies to encourage the private sector to invest in the agricultural industry. She said the studies would prove that farming in the UAE is a profitable business.
They discussed the issue of the scarcity of freshwater resources in the UAE, and Al Habtoor recalled a geological study that was conducted in the days of HH Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, which showed the UAE had significant unexploited water reserves. “We need to investigate this further,” he said.
He added that more research is required to investigate viable options for the UAE to succeed in securing food for the future and recommended the government team up with UAE universities to explore financially feasible options for the future. “I would recommend we tap into this resource to ensure that we find the most cost-effective and sustainable options for our agricultural industry to ensure that we can meet the food requirements for generations to come,” he said. “Research and development in the sector is a key priority to provide for the citizens of the UAE, and the wider region.”
Her Excellency said that the government is exploring high protein alternatives to the traditional staple foods which typical require vast quantities of water. She used quinoa as an example. –
About Al Habtoor Group
Al Habtoor Group LLC, headquartered in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is one of the region’s largest and most respected conglomerates. Founded in 1970 by Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, the Group has grown in unison with the UAE and today has a diverse portfolio of successful businesses operating in key sectors of the economy (hospitality, automotive, real estate, education and publishing). The AHG has an unwavering commitment to excellence, which is apparent throughout all its units. Further information on the Al Habtoor Group is available on www.habtoor.com
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