UAE Increases Agricultural Output and Food Independence

  • Dec. 4, 2022
UAE Increases Agricultural Output and Food Independence

According to a research titled AgriTech in the UAE Industry Landscape Q3 2022, which was jointly released today by Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP) and Deep Knowledge Analytics (DKA), a subsidiary of Deep Knowledge Group, the UAE's AgriTech industry has been elevated to the top of the nation's priority list in the wake of food security worries brought on by the Covid epidemic (DKG).

As the United Arab Emirates imports more than 85 percent of its food, a process that was badly affected by global lockdowns, the UAE government has taken strong measures to implement more self-sustaining techniques to assure food security for its inhabitants and residents.

The deployment of revolutionary food production processes has proved to be profitable for the leaders of the UAE, who want to export the innovation to the rest of the globe, as detailed in a thorough study.

DKA did extensive research on more than one hundred enterprises, thirty or more investors, ten government agencies and hubs, and eight subsectors to provide an overview of the UAE's creative approach to agriculture.

A growing global population, which is projected to reach almost 10 billion by 2050 and increase agricultural demand by 50 percent compared to 2013 levels, is one of the challenges confronting the industry. In addition, the UAE's severe environment makes food security an ongoing worry.

In addition, the agriculture sector contributes to and is influenced by climate change. For instance, agriculture today accounts for 70 percent of the world's water consumption, and food systems are responsible for more than one-third of the world's anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition, one-third of all food produced worldwide is either lost or wasted, amounting to around 1,3 billion tons per year with a value of nearly $1 trillion. In underdeveloped nations, forty percent of losses occur in the post-harvest and processing stages.

As food security has always been a priority for the country, the UAE unveiled its National Food Security Strategy in 2018, with the aim of boosting food production by 30-40% over the next decade. The objective is for 50 percent of the food eaten in the Emirates to be produced locally by 2051, up from 20 percent in 2022.

Commenting on the contents of the study, His Excellency Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO of Sharjah Research Technology & Innovation Park, said, "The UAE government has lofty goals to increase food security over the next several years. The objective of producing 50 percent of food locally by 2051 is probably attainable. At SRTI Park, we are happy to have a new generation of pioneering agricultural technology entrepreneurs, such as hydroponics and vertical farming. In 2021, venture capitalists are projected to have invested $51.7 billion in AgriTech businesses, an increase of more than 85 percent from 2020. We are happy to undertake this detailed analysis with DKG since it shows the UAE's audacious actions and goals to attain food security in the face of so much adversity."


Inventions in the Agricultural Industry

Dmitry Kaminskiy, General Partner at Deep Knowledge Group, said, "Solar power technologies that permit the use of salt water rather than fresh water as the major input for agricultural production are among the advances bolstering the UAE's food security. Other projects include the reduction of food waste and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the introduction of vertical farming - a field with enormous promise in the UAE. "We are thrilled to extend our partnership with Sharjah Research Technology & Innovation Park to contribute to the growth of some of the UAE's most vital economic sectors."

Hydroponics, alternative crops, greening the desert, and alternative proteins are also on the list of technologies to increase food production in the UAE, which is supported by robots, AI, and blockchain technology.


The UAE's Agricultural Scene

The biggest components of the UAE's AgriTech industry are as follows: 36% (indoor farming), 15.9% (precision agriculture), and 15% (indoor farming), respectively (Agri inputs). Approximately 65 percent of the nation's AgriTech firms are micro-sized businesses with less than 50 workers. Agriculture in the UAE is anticipated to develop at a 3.5% CAGR between 2022 and 2027, based on the nation's determination to massively expand the sector in the near future.

Although the UAE's food production represents a negligible portion of the world's agricultural output, the ramifications of this forward-thinking policy reach far beyond the country's boundaries.

Due to the vast disparities in agri-climatic conditions, the transfer of technology from temperate areas to those closer to the equator has not proven effective in the past.

Approximately 1.1% of the worldwide capital invested in AgriTech was invested in UAE-based enterprises in 2021, or more than half a billion dollars. 66 UAE-based companies are now tackling the sustainability problem. This is followed by investors from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland, as well as other GCC nations.

The worldwide AgriTech industry is anticipated to reach $22.6 billion by 2025, presenting a substantial potential for investors and businesses seeking to create innovative technologies. Adoption of modern technology and rising need for food traceability and safety are factors driving market expansion.

Pure Harvest Smart Farms, Madar Farms, Farmin, The Platform, Palmear, and others are some of the prominent participants in the UAE's AgriTech startup industry.

The UAE is a particularly appealing choice for AgriTech investors due to its favorable environment and infrastructure, as well as its strong government backing for measures to improve food security.

Looking ahead: AgriTech in the United Arab Emirates

Abu Dhabi controls the agricultural technology firm Silal, which is modernizing eighty farms using smart monitoring and irrigation technologies. In accordance with the national AgriTech policy, Silal will spend $54 million over the next two years in the initiative to promote sustainable agriculture.

The National Food Security Strategy 2051 drives technological advances to achieve strategic goals, such as a 13% reduction in food loss and waste, a 35% reduction in food safety incidents, a 100% success rate for emergency drills, a 15% increase in the production of select strategic food items, and a 30% yield improvement from new technology-enabled production.