Becoming a Pioneer in Climate-Smart Agriculture: UAE Transforms from Desert to Farmland

The UAE has embarked on a remarkable journey to become a pioneer in climate-smart agriculture, transforming its arid desert landscape into fertile farmland. Initiatives such as the Manbat market, a joint venture between real estate developer Arada and the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, have played a crucial role in promoting local produce and supporting local farmers. The market, which has gained popularity and expanded to multiple locations, has become a hub for over 200 vendors and farmers, sourcing fresh produce from farms across the Country.

Recognizing the need for food security, the UAE has taken significant steps to reduce its reliance on imports and develop sustainable food production systems. The National Strategy for Food Security, launched in 2018, aims to achieve zero hunger by ensuring access to safe and nutritious food. By utilizing modern technologies, increasing local production, and forging international partnerships, It has made remarkable progress in enhancing its food security.

The success of the Countries efforts is evident in its improved ranking in the Global Food Security Index, where it now leads the West Asia and North Africa region. The country’s stability, both economically and politically, has been a driving force behind its achievements. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the importance of consuming healthy and locally sourced food.

Manbat has emerged as a vital player in the journey towards long-term food security. By connecting local farmers with consumers, empowering them with essential skills, and actively participating in policy-making initiatives, Manbat supports the development of sustainable farms in the country.

In line with its commitment to sustainable agriculture, the UAE has embraced innovative farming technologies. Hydroponics and AI-facilitated irrigation systems have revolutionized farming practices, ensuring efficient water usage and maximizing crop yields. Start-ups like Pure Harvest Smart Farms and Badia Farms have leveraged these technologies to establish successful farm-to-table operations. Moreover, the UAE has made significant strides in utilizing Liquid Natural Clay and partnering with Norwegian start-up Desert Control to improve soil health and reduce water consumption.

The emirate of Sharjah has demonstrated remarkable progress in food security through its wheat farming initiative. Harvesting 1,600 tonnes of high-quality wheat without the use of pesticides or genetically modified seeds, Sharjah aims to cultivate 1,900 hectares of wheat fields by 2025, thereby reducing the UAE’s dependence on imports.

Beyond crops, the UAE has also focused on dairy farming, beekeeping, and aquaculture. Dairy farms in Al Ain, beekeeping in the mountains of Hatta, and successful fish farming by Dubai’s Fish Farm LLC have contributed to reducing dependence on imports and ensuring a diversified food supply.

Recognizing the importance of regional partnerships, the UAE has collaborated with Israel and the US under the I2U2 partnership to address food shortages in the region. Additionally, the development of the organic India-West Asia Food Corridor between India, the UAE, and Israel further strengthens the UAE’s commitment to food security.

The UAE’s dedication to climate-smart agriculture and sustainable food systems will be further showcased when it hosts the 28th Conference of Parties (COP28) climate conference. By stimulating global responses to climate change, food systems, clean energy, and biodiversity, the UAE aims to inspire collaborative efforts in addressing these critical global challenges.

In conclusion, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has emerged as a pioneering nation in the realm of climate-smart agriculture, transforming vast desert landscapes into fertile farmland. With a commitment to achieving food security, the UAE has taken significant strides in developing sustainable food production systems and reducing its reliance on imports. Initiatives like the Manbat market, in collaboration with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, have played a crucial role in supporting local farmers and promoting homegrown produce.

By utilizing advanced agricultural technologies, such as hydroponics, AI-facilitated irrigation, and innovative solutions like Liquid Natural Clay, the UAE has demonstrated its dedication to sustainable farming practices. The success of initiatives in Sharjah, including wheat farming without pesticides, and the focus on dairy farming, apiculture, and aquaculture across different emirates, further exemplify the UAE’s multifaceted approach to achieving food security.

Moreover, the UAE recognizes the importance of regional partnerships and has collaborated with countries like Israel and the United States to tackle food shortages in the region. As the UAE prepares to host the COP28 climate conference, it solidifies its commitment to driving global responses to climate change, food systems, clean energy, and biodiversity. The UAE’s remarkable progress in addressing food security serves as an inspiration for other nations grappling with similar challenges, showcasing the transformative power of innovation, collaboration, and sustainable practices in building a secure and resilient food future.

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