FOODSEC - Middle East Food Security is a Virtual Summit and Expo taking place from 24-25 March 2021.
The event is an inter-regional platform with a B2B & B2G international trade expo and summit presenting developments in Food Security at all spatial levels from local, to global markets and from an interdisciplinary and systemic food systems perspective.
The event will feature participation from C-level executives, thought leaders, government decision makers, focused investors, entrepreneurs, corporates, food executives, researchers, technology experts, innovators, from across the agriculture and food production supply chain, to uncover disruption within the industry and identify the right business models to commercialize and scale the next generation of solutions.
Additionally, the Event offers an invaluable platform for unparalleled networking, generating significant business leads, facilitating new connections, collaboration, business partnerships, and industry synergism in the quest for sustainable food innovations for the global economy and society. The event is a definitive meeting point to gain valuable insight into the latest trends and showcase a diverse array of investment opportunities and forge strategic alliances.
The key objective of the Event is to encourage, facilitate and expand national and foreign investments. The Event will focus on agricultural assets available to foreign investments and target entities active in buying and selling agriland, food processing factories and other agricultural assets, creating an opportunity for agreements between local, regional and international partners with the aim of aligning interests and coordinating efforts in this critical area. The goal of the Summit is also to accelerate the commercialization of advanced agricultural technologies by generating global partnerships and collaborations.
The Event hopes to play an essential role in catalyzing and reaching sustainable food security by bringing key partners across the public and private sectors, encouraging integration and creating partnerships and alliances to support food security policies and strategies in the region.
The Event’s unique concept as a by-invitation-only platform provides participants with an exclusive opportunity to network with the right business partners and stakeholders and pre-set one-on-one meetings, allowing access to the broadest community of active buyers and sellers from all corners of the globe.
The Summit will see discussions and presentations on food processing, equipment and technology, dairy product development and infrastructure including development of logistics and integrated cold chains, regulatory requirements for imports, investments in food parks, agro-processing clusters, infrastructure development for fishing harbours and showcase milestones by companies in the field of Aquaculture, Hydroponics, Saline Irrigation, Agritech-Vertical Farming and more.
Food security has recently featured as a critical priority and achieving food security is an imperative for the countries in the Middle East, seeking to achieve relative self-sufficiency and enhance domestic food production. Ensuring food security has been highlighted at the top of the national agenda.
The global food system is undergoing a huge transformation fueled by demand for responsible food production and greater food security in the wake of the on-going pandemic. The ongoing pandemic that led to supply chain disruptions, border closures and other restrictions has only further emboldened the regions’ governments commitment to advance food security, increased the need to be self-dependent and is rapidly reforming food security readiness for any future changes.
Governments across the Middle East are developing a robust food security strategy for their nations to ensure access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round. In order to achieve this, they have adopted comprehensive strategies across the food value chain. They are championing trade facilitation, promoting international trade partnerships, foreign investment strategies and enabling technology-based production and supply of food. They are formulating plans and development policies to support local food production, implement programs aimed at boosting farm production, food processing, enhance biosecurity, stockpiling, reduce food loss and waste, food safety, nutrition and food risks and crises management. These strategies contribute to addressing issues of food security self-sufficiency, trade, resilience, and sustainability in various degrees.
The Strategic Direction comprises of targeting commercially viable projects that will create both strategic and financial value, develop partnerships with private and public stakeholders to mobilize various resources and to attract more investment to the food sector; promote the adoption of responsible, efficient and sustainable practices across the value chain; target a mix of agri-food projects in urban and rural areas to create employment, offering incentives, economic diversification and growth of SMEs; improve food quality standards by adopting well established international practices; increase exports and reduce dependence on imports.
An initiative is being conceptualized around an integrated agency specializing in the marketing of locally grown, as well as the production of high value crops that are in demand in local and export markets. These approaches have laid out several opportunities to improve food security goals through investment, scientific research, innovation and technology.
Food Security in general relies on 7 major factors - Availability, Access, Affordability, Utilization, Stability, Quality and Safety of Food.
At the center of the arid world and with a rapidly growing population, climate change, arable land and water scarcity makes it exceptionally critical for the region to develop holistic and ambitious plans to ensure food security.
Agricultural activities are limited by several natural constraints, such as scarce freshwater resources, harsh climate and poor soils. Furthermore, agriculture has been traditionally based on open field irrigation with a low water use efficiency.
Food waste and loss has a significant impact on food security at all levels including: reduced quality of food as micronutrients are lost through inadequate handling, storage and processing.
As the Middle East imports majority of its current food supply, self-sustainability remains a significant challenge. Global and regional crises, impacts of climate change and drought, infectious diseases and so on, are also compounding the situation for importing nations. Given the challenges of securing supplies from producing nations on a long-term basis, it has become necessary for import dependent regions to find suitable solutions to mitigate this risk, diversifying food import sources and identifying alternative supply schemes.
Global food commodity prices are expected to face consistent upward pressure in the period to 2025. In the event of another global supply shortage and food price rise, the introduction of export restrictions by large agricultural producers would put the regions food security at risk.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the limits of the global food industry, stressing the need to address topics such as food security, tackling food waste and re-imagining agriculture.
The government’s drive towards economic diversification and increasing the contribution of non-oil sectors and activities along with a desire to increase self-sufficiency in terms of food-related products, are the driving forces at a national level by implementing new technologies and methodologies, developing the necessary infrastructure to stimulate private investment, accelerating the pace of implementation of major strategic projects and partnership projects between the public and private sectors, and attracting more foreign direct investment.
The strategy specifically aims to implement resilient and futuristic agricultural practices and investment on water-smart food production, vertical farming, hydroponics, aeroponics, aquaponics, urban agriculture, salt-tolerant crops, grain trading, marine biotechnology, animal vaccine production, food technology, water and soil management, advanced irrigation systems , treated wastewater, aquaculture, poultry, meat production, livestock, dairy and DNA-based diets, lab-grown meat, among innovation-driven opportunities.
Available opportunities for Investors, Entrepreneurs and SMEs include Research and Development, Business Facilitation and Consultancy, Food Certification, Training the provision of human cadres, safety requirements, raw materials, branding services, marketing tools and information system.
There are also opportunities in port development, fishery harbour development, storage, logistics, warehousing, cold chain infrastructure and transportation of products to various cities in the region.
Enhancement of food security through the adoption of advanced technologies such as AI, robotics and other agricultural technology innovations to ensure faster harvest cycles, reduced usage of water, fertilizers and improved effective space to yield ratio. This may involve, for instance planting new crop varieties, combining traditional practices with new scientific knowledge, applying new pest control and post-harvest practices or engaging with markets in new, more rewarding ways. Authorities across the region are offering incentives on all aspects of agriculture to encourage farmers, operators and food producers to adopt innovations that contribute to their nation’s food security strategies.