For countries around the world the COVID-19 epidemic has put clear emphasis on self-sufficiency, especially regarding food supply. For the UAE this is no different, and both local production and secure, stable imports of food have become an even higher priority these days. Creating an enabling environment and gaining knowledge in agri-tech is a top priority for the UAE government.
Moreover, transforming the UAE into a knowledge hub when it comes to growing food in high humidity, heat and high salinity soil, is one of the main ambitions. The use of agri-tech and new initiatives for agricultural projects are rapidly gaining ground, and there is a demand for more. Higher local food production is not only the government’s aim, also private sector players such as the larger supermarket chains, hotels and restaurants have set ambitious targets for selling more local produce in the UAE.
However, local production is a relatively new sector for the country, and as with any new sector, this brings about both opportunities and challenges across different levels. As the Netherlands we have a lot to offer across each aspect of the food value chain, and we aim to intensify our cooperation with the UAE to contribute to further developing the local agriculture ecosystem. In this session we will look more closely at the financing of such projects in the UAE.