The UAE has proven unquestionably resilient against the food and agriculture challenges posed by its dry, arid climate. In 2019 alone, the country climbed 10 ranks up the Global Food Security Index to come 21st after its 31st 2018 ranking. This came as a result of the cooperative efforts on the side of the governmental and private sectors to provide practical and effective solutions. Global competitions, such as the FoodTech Challenge, have even encouraged every person interested in submitting their change-driven ideas to contribute to the UAE’s food, livestock, and agriculture industry’s growth.
Though some categories, such as fruits, vegetables, cereals, and coffee, have recently witnessed historic growth, others, such as halal meat, green tea, and fresh coffee, may not yet be able to compete with such levels of growth, but still have increasingly high growth potential. The niche organic food market has experienced similar growth, which could majorly be attributed to how consumers prefer certified, branded goods and which, in turn, highlights the need for businesses to focus on certifications and branding.
The country’s efforts extend to the Dubai-based Desert Control’s Liquid NanoClay (LNC) mixture that has a water-retaining effect on dry soil and the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) that enjoys a two-decade research and development record of providing smart solutions for food growth in difficult climatic conditions. As a result, the UAE now owns one of the world’s largest genebanks in addition to having grown quinoa, amaranthus, and Salicornia for the first time, among other crops that wouldn’t have otherwise survived in the country’s arid climate.