Dubai: The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCAE) on Monday inaugurated the Youth Food Safety Stations, which aim to expand the capacity of young Emirates to become agricultural entrepreneurs. The network will also serve as a platform for innovative projects that will improve the UAE’s food security and diversify the local food supply chain. Dr Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said: “The challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted the key importance of food security and sustainability.” “MoCCAE is working closely with its strategic partners from the public and private sectors to ensure uninterrupted food supply by boosting imports and promoting homemade food production in terms of quantity and quality, with the aim of boosting the share of local food products in the market. enlarged, “he added. MoCCAE is working with the National and Reserve Service Authority for the project which is also supported by the Office of the Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the Office of the Minister of State for Food and Water Safety, and the Federal Youth Authority. Al Nuaimi told Gulf News after the launch: ‘The food we produce locally is definitely cheaper than the products we get from outside (the country). The quality is also better than what we import from abroad. ”
Setting up food stations
MoCCAE will set up modern integrated centers for modern agriculture across the country to develop farming skills among young people and teach them to implement and manage modern farming systems to improve productivity. Al Nuaimi said five food stations would initially be located in the United Arab Emirates, with the first one in Abu Dhabi. He noted: “For the first food station, approximately 50 to 70 (young) citizens will be exposed to agriculture, networking and marketing. The initiative will enable young Emiratis to become entrepreneurs in animal and crop agriculture, beekeeping and aquaculture, and can actively contribute to national food security. ” According to MoCCAE, the primary objective of the initiative is that of the National and Reserve Service Program and secondly any Emirati youth interested in food security enterprises. MOCCAE will also work with the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of State for Youth Affairs to encourage youth participation in the initiative and to connect graduates with financial institutions that will help them launch their agricultural businesses.
The Youth Food Safety Initiative is a three-stage program that blends academic learning and practical training. Phase one will focus on the fundamentals of agribusiness management, modern farming design, sustainable agricultural production, agricultural innovation and marketing. Participants will also explore ways in which local production can support food security and meet the needs of the population during an emergency. In phase two, students will apply the theories they have learned with a focus on the design and installation of farming systems, the management of protected and open veld farming systems, livestock and poultry farming, aquaculture, feed processing, beekeeping and honey production. They also learn the basics of modern farm management, such as feasibility studies, budgets, accounting, asset management and procurement. The third and final phase is practical training on processes that take place after the harvest until the products reach the retailers, such as marketing, contract negotiation and sales. Each student must complete a degree project that prepares the preparation for a proposal for an agribusiness, project or technology assessed by the trainers, which will give their recommendations so that it can be submitted to financial institutions.
Ensure food security
Staff Leading Major-General Sheikh Ahmed bin Tahnoun bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, chairperson of the National and Reserve Authority, said: ‘The Youth Food Safety Initiative is a key step in the country’s efforts to improve national food security and we youth in shaping its future. It is also in line with the future-oriented vision of our leaders, who pay the utmost attention to food security, as expressed by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the UAE Army, when he ensure that ‘food and medicine are a red line’. ” He added: ‘The initiative is being led by recruits from reserve services, who have proven themselves worthy of the confidence our leaders have placed in it. They have shown that they are capable of serving and protecting this country to ensure the continuity of key sectors during a time of crisis. ” Dr Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs, also noted: ‘The future of agriculture and food security is full of promising opportunities for young entrepreneurs, where they can play an important role in designing innovative food security solutions and come up with creative ways to increase our agricultural production. ” ‘With this in mind, we spare no effort to establish a nutritional environment where young people can find the necessary resources to promote agricultural development. We strive to motivate them to use their energy and skills to develop modern and innovative agricultural methods that serve our strategic goal of maximizing local agricultural production, ”Al Falasi added.
Innovative food projects
Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, Minister of State for Food and Water Safety, said: ‘The Youth Food Safety Stations will engage the Emirates youth and harness their power to create innovative food projects. Building human capabilities is a strategic factor for the National Food Security Strategy, which is why I am delighted to be part of this project. I commend the efforts of MoCCAE and its contribution to the development of a food ecosystem with sustainability at its core. We are committed to supporting youth through this project and other food – related projects in the UAE. ” Shamma bint Suhail Faris Al Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth Affairs, added: “Youth is the largest part of our society and the ability to realize our country’s aspirations. Just as we have been able to engage and empower young leaders in sectors such as space, economy, technology and humanitarian work, we are confident that we will soon have pioneers in modern and sustainable agriculture, which will establish a robust supply network and ensure our self-sufficiency in in line with best practices in the sector. ”