Mohammed Bin Rashid Launches Food Tech Valley
Initiative to create new ecosystem to triple the UAE’s food production
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has launched the ‘Food Tech Valley’ a new initiative that seeks to triple the UAE’s food production.
The launch was attended by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai; HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and First Deputy Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai; HHSheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Groupand President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority; HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Media Council; HE Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs; HE Mariam Hareb Almheiri, Minister of State for Food and Water Security; HE Khalifa Saeed Sulaiman, Chairman of Protocols for the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE; and HE Hesham Abdullah Al Qassim, CEO of Wasl Asset Management Group.
The initiative aims to create an integrated modern city that will serve as a hub for future clean tech-based food and agricultural products and an incubator for researchers, entrepreneurs, startups and industry experts involved indeveloping solutions that have the potential to shape the future of the food industry.
The new city will spearhead innovation and leverage collaborative networks to lead regional transformation and export knowledge on sustainable food systems globally.
It will support the use of technologies and applied research in food processing and agriculture and apply modern farming techniques – such as vertical farming, aquaculture and hydroponics - to accelerate self-sufficiency in fresh food produce and reduce wastage of resources.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said, “Food Tech Valley is part of a series of projects that aim to sustain the UAE’s food, water and agricultural systems in line with the National Food Security Strategy.Food and medicine represent strategic sectors that help us ensure a prosperous and sustainable future for the next generation.”
Food Tech Valley is the outcome of a partnership between the Ministry of Food and Water Security and Wasl Properties to explore urban planning of future smart and food independent cities. Equipped with cutting-edge technologies, Food Tech Valley aims to achieve the objectives of the National Food Security Strategy 2051 and support a diversified knowledge-based economy.
The Food Tech Valley will host vertical farms, an advanced smart food logistics hub, Research & Development (R&D) facilities and a marketplace.Driven by a circular economy model, the city will bring together companies, investors and researchers in a sustainable agribusiness ecosystem to develop the latest aquaculture and hydroponics technologies. Over 300 varieties of crops will be produced in the new city using modern farming techniques and the latest agri technologies.
Through an innovation-based approach to food, the new site aims to enhance local food production, diversify investments and advance research to align and influence future food trends and preferences.It will act as a global hub for start-ups, SMEs and international companies with a wide range of expertise to exchange knowledge in the food industry.
Her Excellency Mariam Almheiri, Minister of State for Food and Water Security, stressed that the launch of the initial phase of the Food Tech Valley is vitally important at the present time when the world needs strategic projects to achieve food self-sufficiency, while ensuring sustainability and conservation of resources. Highlighting that the initiative translates the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to develop projects that can shape the future and build a knowledge economy based on innovation, Almheiri said the Food Tech Valley project will establish the UAE’s position as a global laboratory for the latest technologies in innovation-based food security.
"The Food Tech Valley project represents an instrumental stride towards enhancing food security and will serve as a global destination for expertise in the entire food ecosystem. It will also be an economic zone, which is particularly significant considering that the size of the AgTech market is projected to grow from $13.5 billion to $22 billion over the next four years. The project is part of our efforts to achieve our strategic national goals with respect to food security, as it constitutes an incubator for advanced farms - including indoor and vertical farms - with more than 60% of the project’s space allocated to these activities.”
“The project features a food innovation centre that has been designed to resemble a head of wheat and will incorporate laboratories, research centres and prototype agricultural systems. Strategically located close to universities and academic institutions, it will support the R&D ecosystem and explore and deliver sustainable solutions around food,” she added.
“As we celebrate the past 50 years of achievements inspired by our founding fathers, we look forward to the next 50 years with confidence to realise our National Food Security Strategy and enhance our capabilities in food production as a nation. We seek to adopt and develop the latest methods for smart agriculture and food production, rationalise water use, accelerate basic food self-sufficiency, and share our successful experiences with countries around the world. This will help us achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and safeguard the future of forthcoming generations.”