ABU DHABI -- The Australian Business Group Abu Dhabi, in collaboration with the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Australian Embassy and Western Australian State Trade Office, have hosted an evening discussion on food security in the UAE.
The Honourable Ken Baston, MLC, Minister for Agriculture and Food - Fisheries and Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE Permanent Representative to the International Renewable Energy Agency, IRENA, and Director of Energy and Climate Change, DECC Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, addressed business and community leaders attending the forum on food security risks specific to the UAE and actions taken to address these issues. The discussion also focused on Australia’s role in realising the UAE’s food security through trade and investment opportunities.
"The UAE imports 90 percent of its food, and, with continuing population growth, food imports are expected to increase even further," Dr. Al Zeyoudi said. "This represents a major challenge for the UAE, with the increasing extreme weather events caused by climate change which will have direct implications for the UAE’s food supply in the long-term."
During the forum, Dr. Al Zeyoudi explained how the UAE has been diversifying its food sources and investing in agricultural projects and technologies. The country is also contributing to international sustainability and facilitating dialogues for practical solutions, like the forum. Mr. Baston stressed the importance of bilateral ties and discussed how Australia has become an important strategic partner to the UAE in addressing food security issues.
"Business leaders in the UAE and Australia have been working closely together to establish joint development projects specifically in food security and logistics services," Baston said. "Australia as a major food exporter has developed cutting edge technologies and we are eager to work with the UAE in enhancing its food security through knowledge sharing."
Kim Debenham, Charge d’Affaires at the Australian Embassy, said, "The Australian Embassy welcomes this chance to explore opportunities for cooperation with the UAE on the important topic of food security. Australia exports more than half of its agricultural produce, and our food exports to the UAE have increased significantly over the past few years. For example, meat exports have increased from AU$188 million in 2012 to $271 million in 2014. There are significant bilateral trade and investment opportunities which arise from food security imperatives and we look forward to exploring how to maximise these."
Australian Business Group Chairman, Ellecia Saffron, said, "Australia and the UAE share many things, including strong cultural values of innovation and collaboration. The Australian Business Group Abu Dhabi is designed and committed to connecting the two countries, and those within them, on all relevant trade and business areas. We work closely with the Australian Embassy and Austrade as well as the Australian Business Community, and it’s that collaboration that makes events like this today possible. We hope to have a positive contribution to a long and fruitful relationship between Australia and the UAE."
The Australian Business Group Abu Dhabi regularly collaborates with the UAE on sustainability initiatives. Recent events have included Abu Dhabi 2030 Vision, Expo 2020 Update and the Etihad Business Model Update.
Image by: www.mofa.gov.ae