UAE Announces Major Boost for Food & Agricultural Purchases to Uplift the Local Farming Sector
Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, witnessed the signing of the first deal secured by the National Farm Sustainability Initiative (NFSI)Task Force.
The recently formed ministry team has arranged for the supply of food and agricultural products from national farms, amounting to US$136 million over five years, to some of the largest public sector institutions in the UAE.
This took place during an event held at the headquarters of the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE).
A statement of intent was signed to facilitate the new deal between ADNH Compass Group, a joint venture between Abu Dhabi National Hotels Company and the Compass Group, which in turn represents the largest food catering services company in the UAE - and and Manbat, a commercial platform founded by UAE master developer Arada to facilitate stronger ties between Emirati farmers and local consumers and businesses.
Her Excellency Mariam Almheiri praised the efforts of the National Farm Sustainability Initiative Task Force in achieving this important deal and signing the statement of intent, which contributes to the establishment of new mechanisms and partnerships, connecting major supply companies with national farms through cooperation with various relevant government and private sectors in the country.
This will help increase purchases of national farm products, expand local production through purchase agreements, and thus raise the country's self-sufficiency rate for selected food items, thereby improving the income of Emirati farmers without affecting food trade.
She emphasized that the Ministry is intensifying its efforts to achieve the goals of the National Farm Sustainability Initiative to enhance food security and sustainability by empowering national farms and supporting their entry into the food purchases market in cooperation with many governmental and private sectors in the UAE.
She pointed out that the goal of the initiative is to increase the purchase ratios of the major entities participating in the initiative to reach 50% of their total food purchases from local sources by the end of 2023, 70% by the end of 2025, and 100% by 2030.
She said: "During the Year of Sustainability and as the UAE approaches hosting the COP28, the efforts of the working group represent a pioneering model to enhance food security by empowering the national food production sector to ensure food sustainability.
"It is one of the biggest local and global sustainability goals, by working to develop sustainable local production enabled by technology across the entire value chain, and dedicating smart technologies in food production."
His Royal Highness Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal, Vice Chairman of Arada, said: "This concord between Manbat and ADNH Compass Group is a major step on the road to future food security for some of the UAE’s largest and most prominent public entities.
"We’re delighted to see that this groundbreaking Task Force has delivered such a significant deal so quickly, and we look forward to announcing further partnerships in the very near future.”
On his part, Mr Peter Nichols, Chief Operating Officer of ADNH Compass Group, said: "This groundbreaking partnership underlines ADNH Compass Group’s longstanding commitment to cultivating a sustainable and environmentally friendly ecosystem between Emirati farmers and the public sector in the UAE.
"We believe that this is the first of many signings that have the ability to catalyse a transformation that safeguards our environment and contributes to a sustainable, prosperous UAE.”
Eight major public sector institutions have signed an agreement to achieve this goal, including the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Finance, Dubai Police General Command, Abu Dhabi Police, the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority, Emirates Health Services Corporation, and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).
The agreed-upon deal extends over five years, with an approximate value of 500 million Emirati Dirhams, based on the current purchasing volume of fresh products by the eight signing entities, in addition to estimates of increased demand as a result of the efforts of ADNH Compass Group and Manbat to increase sales of fresh products from local farmers.
The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment is working on ensuring that all relevant parties within the initiative begin implementing the designated plan for this agreement. Communication is ongoing with farmers as they are the primary driving force of this agreement to determine the types and quantities of required varieties.
All farmers wishing to participate should first register with the Ministry and ensure their ability to comply with the necessary guidelines and instructions. Then, Manbat andADNHCompass Group will register the farmers within their records and submit the applications in accordance with the final deadlines set by each of the signing entities.
It is worth noting that the National Farm Sustainability Initiative team comprises a group of external experts, headed by His Excellency Eng. Mohammed Mousa Alameeri, Assistant Undersecretary for Food Diversity Sector at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment.
The team also includes Mr Peter Nichols, the Chief Operating Officer of ADNH CompassGroup; Dr Ray Tinston, Managing Director of Manbat; Omar AlShamsi, CEO of Watermelon Holding Limited; Hamed Al Hamed from Gracia Group; Yazen Al Kodmani, Partner at 3Y Agtech and Deputy General Manager at Emirates Bio Farm; and Hussein AlHussein, Regional Manager at the "Farm to Plate" Initiative.