18/02/2022 – Event / Food Security / Future Summit / Agritech / Agriculture / Dubai / UAE
Ground-breaking Food For Future Summit to unlock huge food security potential
World leaders, agritech and start-up pioneers are lining up to attend a first-of-its-kind global gathering of food security innovators, to be held as part of Expo 2020 Dubai, as the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation is poised to invest US$1bn in the Middle East’s agribusiness sector.
A new wave of business opportunities spanning the global food ecosystem will be unlocked at the ground-breaking Food For Future Summit and Global Agtech Expo from 23–24 February, as the industry looks to address an impending agricultural shortfall that could fail to produce enough to feed the world’s anticipated 10 billion population by 2050.
More than 150 high-calibre industry speakers, alongside a host of food, agritech and start-up pioneers from more than 50 countries, will convene for the first-of-its-kind summit, organised by Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), at Dubai Exhibition Centre from Wednesday 23rd to Thursday 24th February.
The events, hosted by the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) as a strategic partner, come at the optimum time to galvanise the industry and catalyse a worldwide food security movement, according to global food innovators.
Public-private sector collaboration is key
Public-private sector collaboration will be key for a sustainable and secure future, says the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, focused on advanced economic development and improving the lives of people by encouraging the growth of the private sector in developing countries.
“Food security is not something that exists in isolation,” stressed Prasad Gopalan, Manager, Agribusiness & Forestry, IFC. “Solving the food needs of populations requires collaboration between governments and the private sector. At IFC, we invest in agribusiness to build food security and economic opportunities, in parallel with advisory work to strengthen food safety and security, improve business practices, and make value chains more inclusive by integrating smallholders, MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) and women,” advised Mr Gopalan
“We have found that collaboration – between government and industry, and with consumers and other stakeholders – is critical to building effective, safe, and sustainable systems that underpin food security and promote food safety,” he continued. “Where do we see collaboration needed? It depends on the specific country, and this may require, amongst other things, identifying and removing tariffs and other distortions that impede efficient agricultural activity and affordability of food products, improving agricultural and digital infrastructure, and providing essential extension services for farmers and other supply chain participants. This, together with a stable regulatory system, allows the private sector to thrive and innovate to address food security challenges now and in the future,” he added.
Agribusiness investment is crucial
Success also requires investing in agribusiness. IFC is expected to commit about US$1 billion in cumulative investments over the next decade in the Middle East’s agribusiness sector, across the entire Ag value chain – from inputs to production and processing to distribution and food retail.
“All our investments will be aligned with our strategic focus on food security and nutrition, enhancing linkages and efficiencies across value chains, and making sustainability a business driver,” explained Mr Gopalan.
“As we look at future investments, we are seeing interest in the adoption of technology and technology-enabled business models to improve productivity, efficiency, and sustainability of operations, expand access to affordable finance across supply chains and lift overall sustainability of the sector. At the same time, we cannot talk about developing agribusiness without looking at the climate angle. Sustainable development is the priority, and this requires innovating to reduce the climate impact of agribusiness and making the sector more resilient, which in turn boosts food security.”
Increasing global understanding
André Laperriere, Executive Director at GODAN – the network that makes agriculture and nutrition data open and searchable – believes the summit comes at a time of great importance for increasing global understanding. He said: “It is very important to increase the world's awareness on the impact of disruptions in the global food systems, food waste and climate change, and their impact on food security.”
Mr Laperriere, who is also a speaker at the Food For Future Global Leaders Symposium, added: “Our hope for the Food For Future Summit is for it to stimulate partnerships that cause concrete action for food security solutions.”
Henry Gordon-Smith, Founder & CEO of Agritecture – the world’s leading advisory firm on urban and controlled environment agriculture – said that his firm’s ambition for the event is for “an honest discussion on the global issues facing our food system that affect our society and stimulate collaboration between innovators to make a difference.”
Mr Gordon-Smith, who will be leading a talk entitled ‘The Past, Present, and Future of Urban Agriculture’, expressed the importance of raising awareness and analysing data available to tackle urban agriculture. “My aim is to help the audience understand that there are significant amounts of evidence that urban agriculture works when it is designed properly. I hope to give them hope for the future and a pathway to successful change,” he added.
UAE’s expanding role in the agritech revolution
The Food For Future Summit and Global Agtech Expo will underline Dubai’s status at the epicentre of the global food industry and a key driver of a worldwide food security movement, say regional innovators and event organisers.
Nikita Patel, Founder, Oasis Greens – the UAE’s newest local farm, which grows fresh, pesticide-free produce locally and delivers to customers the day its harvested – believes the summit will propel the Emirates to the forefront of an agritech revolution.
“In the UAE, we are on the cusp of strengthening local agriculture and cultivation capabilities to become a centre of excellence in the region for promoting food security,” she said. “As a hydroponics farm operator in the UAE, I look forward to using this summit to share best practices and connect with others in the UAE agriculture sector so we can all support each other in building robust and sustainable food systems.”
Ground-breaking event for food and agritech industry
“This truly is a ground-breaking event in which global food and agritech innovators will provide a unique opportunity for delegates and visitors to deep dive into Agriculture 4.0, croptech, farming and health, as well as aquaculture, which combined are the fastest-growing segment in the food animal industry and forecast to hit US$275 billion within the next three years,” said Trixie LohMirmand, Executive Vice President, Exhibitions & Events, DWTC, organisers of the Food For Future Summit.
“The summit is a powerful programme, which will deliver profound outcomes in a watershed moment when, for the first time, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation partners the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment to advance the transformation of agrifood systems in the Middle East. It is history in the making, food for the future.”
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