Enhancing food diversity is now a key objective of the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCAE).
The ministry has decided to set up initiatives and eventually a legislation to reduce the country’s dependence on imported food stuffs. It also clarified that in the case of an emergency, the UAE has enough food resources to survive for six months up to a year.
Currently, up to 85 per cent of UAE’s food is imported. However, Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, confirmed that the government, in collaboration with private partners and other stakeholders, would look into providing an “adequate supply of food from multiple and reliable sources”.
As part of the initiatives, the ministry will regulate trade in food products and set up veterinary and agricultural quarantine centres and laboratories.
Dr Thani was speaking at a Press meet where the MoCCAE announced its fourth strategic plan for 2017-21 on Tuesday. From promoting environmental health and transitioning to a green economy, the ministry has released seven objectives that will govern the nation’s sustainability goals till 2021.
The strategies involve VAT exemption for farmers, initiatives for caretaking local livestock and animals, and renewal of best practices that produce high-quality food stuffs. The minister also confirmed that Al Ain Dairy is now is the process of exporting camel milk to various European Union nations.
“We have the capability to practise sustainable agriculture, but the focus is to produce large volumes of high-quality food as per international best practices,” said Dr Thani. Currently, the UAE exports camel milk, dates and 40 other high-quality products to various countries across the globe.”
The minister added that recognising food security is an integral aspect of natural resources as it aligns with the ministry’s mandate to preserve the nation’s plant, animal and living aquatic resources.
Dr Thani added: “The ministry’s fourth strategic plan based on a comprehensive study of the UAE’s environment. Data sets collected from research done by the Paris Climate Change Convention, Abu Dhabi and Dubai’s environmental agencies, the Sharjah and Dubai Municipalities, local and regional universities such as the American University of Sharjah, and a few others, gave birth to the seven key objectives.”
The seven key objectives are – promoting environmental health and transition to a green economy, achieving sustainability of natural resources, enhancing food diversity, mitigating climate change, strengthening the enforcement of environmental legislation, fostering a culture of innovation, and improving administrative services.