The COVID-19 pandemic has shed the spotlight on food security across the supply chain as countries grappled with the logistics. Several countries have struggled to import goods including food during lockdowns, as a result of the impact of international conflicts and the increase in commodity prices. The pandemic has helped countries like the UAE that imports most of its food to look promptly at technology to ensure a more self-reliant future.
Prior to the pandemic, the UAE that suffers from arid weather has begun implementing a national food strategy 2051 with a focus to bring the UAE to the best in the global food index. The 2051 strategy, as described by the government, aims to help the country to “achieve zero hunger” through growing their own food that will be accessible throughout the whole year. For this strategy to succeed, the country looks into implementing agricultural practices that increase both productivity and production, enhancing food independency.
In 2019 alone the UAE’s food trade value was $24.7 billion, which means they imported around 80-90% of the food it consumes. These numbers have pushed the country to offer a variety of funds to modernise agriculture as a compensation to the fragile nature of imports. But like around the world, farmers and policy makers face complex choices due to a wide range of technologies that are either available or work in progress.
The agriculture sector must look at these technologies and evaluate their impact on the agri-food supply chain. Modern farming techniques such as hydroponics grows not only fresher food that lasts longer; hence, reducing food waste- but also decreases water usages which is a vital component within countries that have arid weather like the UAE. We at Alec want to help by delivering through the sustainable construction of the Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) sector facilities within the region to ensure food security, water preservation and lower carbon footprints.
Whether through hydroponics, aquaculture, or greenhouse farming ALEC wants to ensure that the locally produced food is delivered fresh from the farm to the table to ensure the sustainability of local production. The increase in population will push for more demand in food which is vital to ensure that countries can be self-reliant, and we want to be there to increase the efficiency of this sector. We want to be part of the sustainable farming system which means that agriculture can contribute to the overall welfare of the society by providing enough food in a manner that is economically efficient and profitable, while ensuring social responsibility towards our planet.