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UAE Banking System Strengthens Support For Agricultural Sector

The UAE’s banking system strengthened its support for the agricultural sector in the first quarter of 2020, by providing financing valued at more than AED500 million to agricultural projects from January to March 2020.

This support is in line with the country’s efforts to achieve its food security strategy, which is a top priority of the federal government and local governments.

The strategy’s main objectives include facilitating business in the agricultural sector and financing agricultural and food activities. In 2018, the UAE launched the National Food Security Strategy, which aims to create a national comprehensive system based on empowering sustainable food production and determining the elements of a national food basket that depends on several standards, such as assessing the local consumption of key products and increasing the manufacturing capacities of essential foods.

The financial support provided by banks to the agricultural sector is the largest in many years, and will increase the total cumulative balance of financial support to AED1.55 billion at the end of March 2020, compared to AED1.05 billion in December 2019.

The value of financial support provided to the agricultural sector is expected to increase this year, as relevant authorities are focussing on securing the country’s food security.

Food security was one of the key topics discussed during the UAE Government’s remote meeting, entitled, "The Preparations for the Post-COVID-19 Period," which concluded that the coming period will witness a rise in strategic partnerships with other countries experienced in developing modern agricultural technologies, as well as an increase in the country’s food storage capacity to limit dependency on imported products, and the drafting of plans to reinforce virtual food markets in the long-term.

The future pillar of reinforcing the UAE’s food security system involves creating a business environment attractive to foreign investors, through launching a package of investment incentives covering agricultural and food projects.

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