The world’s population is set to surpass 9 billion by 2050. It’s a staggering figure, and it doesn’t take a genius to infer that this is going to mean demand for food will also skyrocket. The world’s production systems need to adapt to keep pace with this.
That’s where FarmTech – or AgTech, to use an interchangeable term – comes in. Technological developments in this sector can help to maximize yields in the years to come without putting a greater burden on the environment.
Now, you wouldn’t expect that the Middle East, with its typically arid landscapes, would be a fertile – pardon the pun – area for agricultural innovation. But in fact, this is precisely why the UAE is an ideal environment for FarmTech companies to flourish: the government is aware of the need to encourage innovation to address the specific challenges the region faces. And quickly.
The UAE government is therefore taking active steps to foster the AgTech sector. The National Food Security Strategy aims to drastically reduce the UAE’s reliance on food imports and build a sustainable food production model for the future.
As such, the emirates are actively encouraging AgTech companies to the region. For example, in April 2019 the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) partnered with four AgTech companies – AeroFarms, Madar Farms, RNZ and Responsive Drip Irrigation – to establish new R&D and production facilities in the emirate. More will surely follow.
Here, then, are some of the most promising areas of agricultural technology in the UAE:
Global demand for more sustainable – and efficient – agriculture will only increase along with populations. And like many other aspects of our lives, the COVID-19 pandemic has served to accelerate the move towards smart farming by highlighting the precariousness of global supply chains.
Fortunately, technology has the power to deal with this challenge. And if the UAE is to meet its ambitious strategy to achieve one of the top 10 spots in the Global Food Security Index by 2051 it will need all input it can get from innovative young companies. The field, as they say, is wide open.