The UAE’s soil composition is predominantly made up of sandy soil, which is difficult to cultivate without additives and fertilizers, 2. Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed, chairman of the emirate's Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management, spoke of the need to safeguard supplies against future challenges as he launched the Food Security Dashboard of Dubai. As a member of the World Economic Forum, David co-chaired the Young Global Leaders Circular Economy Taskforce and is a member of the Global IoT Council. JFC’s idea so exciting because we bring this technology – and its huge potential – to the masses by constructing farms at affordable prices both for builders but also for the end customer. Ramesh Jagannathan is currently the Vice Provost for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Managing Director of startAD, the global accelerator at NYU Abu Dhabi. It draws on the active engagement of these eminent experts in discussions over multiple meetings as well as an overview paper and think pieces commissioned by the E15Initiative and authored by group members. Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director-General at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, is an economist and politician from Cape Verde. Full-text available. Production of plant and animal products has limited complementarity with domestic consumption patterns: 6. Feroz holds an electrical engineering degree from The University of Maryland (honors) and an MBA from the Ross School of Business at The University of Michigan. Her vision is to develop integrated farming systems tailormade to the needs of farming communities living in salinized areas, utilizing low-quality water and land resources to grow halophytic crops enhancing food, nutrition, water and income security. In 1991, Dr. Francescutti joined FAO as Food Security Officer. Dr. Hanan Afifi has been a lead researcher at the Research and Development Division, Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority, since 2014. Rising population. Penny has a deep understanding of the complexities of food systems and works with clients to develop personalized, strategic and comprehensive solutions tailored to their needs. In Everfresh, we utilize the main building block that nature has developed as protective barrier against a multitude of organisms. Bringing together all sides of food issues for critical discussion, Food Tank is a global convener, research organization, and non-biased creator of original research impacting the food system. His Excellency Rashid Muhammad Khalfan Al Shuraiqi is the Senior Advisor for Agriculture at Al Dahra Agricultural Company, a member of the Executive Committee of the Parliamentary Union (since 2007), and a member of Abu Dhabi Quality and Compliance Council Board Directors (since 2016). After receiving his MSc degree in horticultural science from the university of Bologna, Georg joined BayWa AG, a German-based conglomerate and global leader in agriculture, energy and construction. Kieran has worked in Procurement for 22 years, having received his MBA in Strategy and Procurement Management from Birmingham Business School. Innovate4Good (I4G), a platform for the impact entrepreneurship ecosystem, has announced the winners of The CovHack Virtual Innovation Challenge. In 2013, Danielle Nierenberg co-founded Food Tank with Bernard Pollack, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization focused on building a global community for safe, healthy, nourished eaters. Entrants with good ideas about sustainable tech-driven solutions are encouraged to apply. He was a member of the High-Level Panel of Experts for Food Security from 2015 to 2019, a founding member of the Arab Food Sovereignty Network, and a member of the Conflicts and Protracted Crisis Working Group of the Civil Society Mechanism of the Committee on Food Security and a member of the EAT-Lancet commission for sustainable diets from sustainable food systems. Everfresh team also seeks to contribute a specific percentage of the award money for charity purposes, particularly helping cancer patients. Here, Georg occupied a variety of positions before assuming the role of General Manager at Al Dahra BayWa Agriculture, the developer and operator of a 10 hectare high-tech Greenhouse facility in the UAE. Studying a variety of methods and techniques around the world, he moved to the UAE to establish Badia Farms. Long-term food security and self-sufficiency are key Now more than ever, they recognize the importance of food security and the necessity to achieve self-sufficiency in food. Countries like the UAE are investing in agtech innovation to improve food security, and the GCC is increasingly working together with stakeholders in the UK to tackle regional resource scarcity challenges. Rising incomes, changing diets. To meet the demand in the UAE, Future Farm has expanded its production capacity from 115 to 600 tons per month. David Rosenberg co-founded and leads AeroFarms, a mission-driven company that builds and operates advanced vertical farms in urban environments. Alesca was selected as a 2019 World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer and has been accepted into prestigious global accelerator programs including Stanford StartX, Thrive Agtech, BitsxBites, Pearse Lyons, Unreasonable Impact, and Dubai Future Accelerators as an innovator in the field of controlled environment agriculture, precision agriculture, and hyper-local urban farming. They are 1 of our 12 Finalist Teams who will compete in the upcoming FoodTech Challenge Awards Ceremony. Many thanks to Dr. Merle and all our mentors who continue to support the FoodTech Challenge and provide valuable insights and advice to our finalists. Total agricultural area in the UAE has decreased by 3% annually over the last 14 years as a result of steady desertification and soil degradation caused by natural and manmade causes: Wind erosion: Major cause behind irreversible land degradation (1.1m hectares in total lost to-date), Natural salinization: Increasing salt content in soil due to seawater infiltration in marine sediments, degrading soil in coastal areas mainly in Abu Dhabi, Harsh climate conditions: High temperatures and low rainfall leads to low soil moisture and accelerated desertification, Irrigation malpractice: Overwatering of plants or use of saline groundwater for irrigation, increases vulnerability to pests, diseases, and root degradation, Excessive use of additives: Fertilizers containing excessive nitrogen dehydrates soil and leads to high emissions of greenhouse gases, Overgrazing: Plants are exposed to intensive grazing for extended periods without sufficient recovery periods, reducing land productivity and increasing desertification, Groundwater (44%) is being extracted 25x faster than the natural recharge rate due to hot climatic conditions, inefficient irrigation techniques, overpumping, and cultivation of high water use crops such as date palms and Rhode grass, Desalinated water (42%) is increasing as a substitute for UAE’s depleting groundwater; however, producing desalinated water increases greenhouse gas emissions, soil salinity, and contaminates groundwater if production and disposal is not done properly, Treated wastewater (14%) is an alternative source of water for agriculture purposes; however, only 52% of water is currently being recycled due to an underdeveloped transmission and distribution system, The UAE Ministry of Energy & Industry launched the UAE Water Security Strategy 2036, which aims to reduce total demand for water resources by 21%, Pests in the UAE (e.g., red palm weevils, locusts, beetles, moths, and rats) feed on crops, contaminate stored food, and sometimes even damage infrastructure, resulting in the overall reduction of post-harvest yields, Common pesticides contain toxic chemicals that harm crops and humans as well, while also breeding pesticide-immune pests that are more difficult to exterminate, The pesticide consumption in agriculture is much higher in the UAE than other parts of the world: 9.86kg/ha in the UAE, 1.9kg/ha in Europe, 1.5kg/ha in the US, 0.5kg/ha in India, To reduce chemical pesticide use, the UAE is increasing its regulation and developing environmentally-friendly pest control techniques, such as pheromone traps , light traps , and drone technology, Field crops comprise 60% of UAE’s overall production, Staple crops such as wheat, which is responsible for a third of calorie consumption, is not commercially cultivated in the UAE due to its water-intensive requirements, Animal production: – While livestock supply has increased steadily since 2012, only a small share is used for commercial meat production due to preference for personal use, Production of fisheries has been relatively stagnant; less than 2% is produced through aquaculture due to lack of awareness, regulation, and incentives to shift technologies, The majority of youth are disengaged with the agriculture industry; in a recent survey of 141 farm owners in the UAE, 90% of them were 41 years old and above, The study showed that willingness to adopt technology into their agricultural production is positively correlated with three main factors: farm income, level of education, and water salinity; however, only 50% of farmers introduced to hydroponic technology incorporate this into their operations, UAE University (UAEU) is the only university with a dedicated faculty for food and agriculture innovation, limiting the country’s capacity to train its next generation of farmers, Production: Pests infest farmland and storage facilities, contaminating the supply, Distribution: Hot weather, especially during the summer, causes food to spoil quickly, adding stress to distributors to keep food cool and clean. In Everfresh, we believe that now more than ever it’s important to join efforts using science alongside nature to secure food supply and minimize food loss and waste. As a serial entrepreneur, he has founded several companies including KES Engineering based in Chicago (1997), dBKES Engineering Services (2000) and DEK Technology (2010) based in Istanbul, MGT Electronics based in Chicago (2007), and HAWK Technology based in Abu Dhabi (2011). There are gaps in food handling throughout the supply chain, leading to food waste in all stages of production, 8. Food Security, as defined by the United Nations’ Committee on World Food Security, is “the condition in which all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food, that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”. 3. She is a certified trainer (AUPSCER 170803543 AE) with extensive experience in delivering successful training programs across food technology and food safety and has more than 25 years of academic experience in the field of food science. Dr. Rami Zurayk is professor and chairperson of the Department of Landscape Design and Ecosystem Management at the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, American University of Beirut, where he has been on the faculty since 1991. In celebration of World Food Day, the UAE's Minister of State for Food and Water Security, Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, commented that the UAE will continue to play a key role in strengthening global cooperation and promoting more sustainable food systems in its efforts to achieve the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. Only 0.5% of the land mass is arable, extreme heat limits the capacity to cultivate and store food, and the country receives very minimal rainfall. The Food Tech Challenge is a global competition that seeks to develop innovative solutions for food production and management in the UAE. : We believe we are unique in the vertical farming industry in this regard. Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri was appointed as Minister of State for Food Security following the Cabinet reshuffle of October 2017. Previously Ramesh spent 30 years at Eastman Kodak in the US and the UK, which culminated in a prestigious appointment as a Research Fellow at Kodak Research Labs. These research interests extend to a past program with NASA in comparing plant growth and reproduction in hydroponic liquid culture versus solid media food production techniques for a "Closed Ecological Life Support System" (CELSS). Read more about them below. Only 7% of soil (~490k hectares) is rich in gypsum and lime and has suitable properties for agriculture use. Please subscribe to our newsletter to be notified when we start accepting submissions. The finals will be a three-day food and agriculture technology event, including workshops and panel discussions, networking sessions, and the final award ceremony. DUBAI // The UAE will be able to feed itself in the future only by ensuring a diversification of the sources of its food. Fatima holds a Bachelor of Science in Sustainable and Renewable Energy Engineering from the University of Sharjah. AeroFarms was listed on Fast Company’s 2019 Most Innovative Companies and Inc. Magazine’s 25 Most Disruptive Companies. : Overall, while the UAE’s efforts to tackle its food dependence can boost the food security in the region and diversify its economy, the success of its strategies will depend on how it tackles the many challenges in a sustainable way. This sheer challenge presents us with an exciting opportunity to drive change, through innovative food-tech enabled solutions. Waste management: Converting food waste into commercial opportunities such as biofuels and fertilizers remains an emerging market with a few players (e.g., Dubai Carbon, Imdaad, and Etihad), Despite strong policy interventions, the UAE is consistently ranked as one of the top producers of food waste, Federal and emirate-level laws and regulations focus on agricultural operations, food safety, water use, and food standards; whereas food waste laws and regulations are limited. Her experience working with public and private sector organisations worldwide has enabled her to lead several technical expert groups as well as education and outreach activities, underlining her commitment to driving multidisciplinary, multi-stakeholder innovation for a sustainable future for our planet. Currently, she is the Project Manager for the Cirata Floating Solar Project in Indonesia. Close to 200 food suppliers have pledged to cut their food waste in half by 2030. The Greenhouse is the first large-scale, sustainable indoor farm in the UAE to produce high-quality tomatoes 365 days a year. Stuart Oda is an investment banker turned urban farmer with a passion for innovation and sustainability. Our goal is to minimize food loss and waste using natural compounds for both retailers and consumers, and to make the fruits and vegetables last longer, resulting in better-quality and more food available for everyone. Congratulations to our Finalists, who were selected from over 400+ submissions from all over the world! They are 1 of our 12 Finalist Teams who will compete in the upcoming FoodTech Challenge Awards Ceremony. Dr. Dino Francescutti Motis is the Sub-regional Coordinator of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) for the Gulf Cooperation Council States and Yemen and also the FAO Representative in the United Arab Emirates. Most recently, she was the first prize recipient in the poster competition at the “7th Dubai International Food Safety Conference and IAFP's First Middle East Symposium on Food Safety Symposium” in 2012. We are delighted to announce that the FoodTech Challenge Awards Ceremony will take place on 17-18 November 2020. He is Mexican and Italian, with a Ph.D. in Economics and a M.Sc. Khalifa University is in the process of developing an artificial soil that is made up of almost 90% desert sand with the aim of using it locally and eventually regionally by farmers. She was recently awarded the Woman in Solar of the Year 2019 by Middle East Solar Industry Association (MESIA). on Agriculture, Trade and Food Security Challenges. To ensure the safety and wellbeing of participants, judges, partners, attendees and staff, the awards ceremony will be held as a virtual event. Alesca's indoor farms and precision agriculture solutions have been deployed in the UAE, China, and Singapore and large-scale projects are under way in Saudi Arabia and South Africa. 2. Israeli irrigation company Netafim has announced plans to open an office in the UAE. in Environment and Community through Antioch University, she went on to co-found Vertical Harvest, a three-story hydroponic greenhouse in Jackson, WY. A panel of experts will select the finalists entries, who will then be invited to present their business case in-person in Abu Dhabi, UAE. With extensive experience both in academia and food industry as a strategic corporate leader overseeing safety, quality and innovation in the wine, dairy, pet food, bakery, liquid grocery manufacturing MNCs and their contract manufacturers. Lastly, if you are selected as one of the four winners, how does your team plan to use the prize money? (2011) ‘Food security: its components and challenges’, Int. The initiative was launched collaboratively by the UAE Food Security Office and Tamkeen in September 2019. Vertical farming technology brings agriculture and food production to locations and areas which were previously limited by a number of factors including; climate, space, and resources. David received his BA from UNC Chapel Hill and holds an MBA from Columbia University. These represent an economic and environmental burden to the UAE and to the rest of the world. As a result, control of arable land and water resources is moving to center stage in the global struggle for food security. They are 1 of our 12 Finalist Teams who will compete in the upcoming FoodTech Challenge Awards Ceremony. In 2013, Stuart founded Alesca Life, an agricultural technology company that builds indoor, vertical farms and farm digitization solutions to modernize the agricultural supply chain. We all come from different academic backgrounds, have expertise in the field of biotechnology, chemical engineering, and sales & marketing. Countries like the UAE are investing in agtech innovation to improve food security, and the GCC is increasingly working together with stakeholders in the UK to tackle regional resource scarcity challenges. Dubai has turned to technology to bolster food security in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. The opportunity to not only deliver a tangible food product to grateful local consumers but also to advise governments on food security strategy is greatly fulfilling. Here are some challenges to consider: 1. In cooperation with the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA) has developed a pipeline of investment projects worth AED1 billion for the private sector to enhance the food security and agricultural sustainability system in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The UAE faces significant challenges to producing food domestically. In his current role established grant-based collaborative research projects with industry and research institutions in Australia, UK, India, etc. The deal, in addition to three others, was made during a UAE business delegation visit to Israel. What does it take to build a vertical farm? Ramesh holds 46 US patents and has invented a dry inkjet printing technology and a new atmospheric process for coating organic device quality thin films. Abdulaziz’s interest in food security began during his time at McKinsey & Co. working extensively with GCC governments addressing a variety of national risk challenges. Only a very small percentage of the land mass is arable, extreme heat limits the capacity to cultivate and store food, and the country hardly receives any rainfall. in Agricultural Economics from the USA and a B.Sc. University students and early-stage start-ups with prior experience in urban farming have been especially encouraged to apply. Join us only for the 2-day event that will feature a number of sessions, including a Q&A with David Rosenberg, panel discussions with world-renowned speakers, finalist pitches, and the Award Ceremony. The UK is increasingly outsourcing its farming expertise to Middle Eastern countries. We are excited to start doing our part to make this world a better place, where there is more food for everyone and less waste. Her knowledge of global agriculture issues has been cited widely in more than 20,000 major print and broadcast outlets worldwide. In her role as a steering, advisory board and founding member of several national and international industry associations (the Vertical Farm Institute [Vienna]), the Farm Tech Society (Brussels), U.K. Urban Agtech collective UKUAT, Smart and Sustainable Urban Agriculture Committee in Singapore, Cluster of Sustainable Cities, UK), Nicole is working with industry experts, shaping and promoting the advancement and acceptance of technology-based agricultural solutions. Dr. Merle Jensen's background includes intensive agriculture/food support systems for developing agricultural communities and aerospace application. The main purpose of this work is to investigate whether the future watering requirements for crop production purposes could be met and sustained in 2030. 4, No. As founder and CEO of Badia Farms, Omar drives the business vision, with ambitious plans to lead the region’s agriculture industry. Plewa states that while other markets are exploring plant-based meat, egg, cheese and dairy, the Middle East is just beginning to offer plant-based options such as almond milk. In 2004, after completing an M.A. Read more . The sharp population growth could create critical challenges in providing the irrigation requirements for the agricultural sector, required to reach food security in this country. : 5. Additionally, with populations becoming more affluent worldwide, middle-class per capita food … We also bring a huge range of corporate experience from the likes of Jaguar Land Rover and Gazprom to owning and operating our own consumer businesses and across functions such as strategy, finance, operations, recruitment, construction, and consumer retail. Danielle has an M.S. His career began as a System Integration Engineer at Motorola, before advancing to become a Technical Release Manager for Motorola’s iDEN Group until 2004. Prior to joining ADIO, His Excellency held leadership roles at various institutions including Emirates NBD, Mubadala and Citibank. Expanding into international markets carries plenty of risks so JFC plans to use this prize money to reduce risks associated with entering the U.A.E market, kick-starting the construction of a new vertical farm growing leafy greens within miles of the end consumer and harvesting on the very same day the produce is eaten. Fatima Al Suwaidi is an Analyst in the Business Development and Investment team in the Clean Energy division at Masdar, focusing on Asia and East Europe. He dedicates time to the region’s food ecosystem as a mentor at Savour Ventures, the Middle East’s first accelerator focused on food. We will update you as soon as these are confirmed, and we very much appreciate your patience. 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