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Abu Dhabi to host major conference to tackle MENA food challenge

Abu Dhabi is set to play a leading role in coordinating efforts to meet the pressures of feeding 520 million people by 2030, one of the biggest challenges facing the Middle East today. MENA Food Production 2030 will take place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre on 20th and 21st March during the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture, GFIA, an established annual event in the UAE capital. It will drive critical dialogue between government, food producers, scientists and investors to establish secure, sustainable and profitable food production systems.

"Hosting of these important international events in Abu Dhabi underlines the commitment of the UAE to debate a dialogue on food security and climate resilience," said Thamer Al Qasemi, Director of the Communication and Community Service Division at the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, ADFCA.

"Increasing levels of food production without exacerbating climate change and environmental damage requires a radical shake-up of the region’s entire food system. We live in a water-constrained region and must use these forums to enhance our contribution to the development and implementation of smart solutions for sustainable food production."

In the Middle East and North Africa region, the challenge of feeding a growing population is particularly complex. The highest rate of population growth worldwide and a rapidly growing urban population adopting Western diets places enormous pressures on the environment and finite resources such as fresh water and fertile land.

During the conference, speakers from around the world will be tackling five key challenges: climate-resilient crops, growing the aquaculture industry, future-proofing animal health, smallholder farmer development, and sustainable animal production.

Among the panel of speakers will be Mohamed bin Obaid-Al Mazrooei, President of the Arab Authority for Agricultural Investment and Development, Khadim Al Darei, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Al Dahra Agriculture Company, Dawood Al Yahyai, Director of Aquaculture Development, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in Oman, Edward Hamod, General Manager, Emirates Food Industries, and Alya Al Mazroui, Programme Manager at the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology, who will be giving an update on the progress to date of the UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science.

Held in strategic partnership with ADFCA, GFIA will also feature an exhibition hosting some 300 companies, and an Innovations Programme, showcasing a series of 15-minute talks from start-up companies who think they have a next-generation solution that could shape the future of farming around the world. 

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