Thu 22-10-2020 19:50 PM
DUBAI, 22nd October, 2020 (WAM) -- Mariam Hareb Almheiri, Minister of State for Food Security, has underlined the growing prospects for cooperation between the UAE and Brazil in the field of food security and agricultural technology.
"The statistics reveal how Brazil’s output is important to global food security," said the Mariam Hareb Almheiri, Minister of State for Food Security, in her inaugural address of the third day of the Economic Forum Brazil & Arab Countries alongside Brazil’s Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply, Tereza Cristina.
The day’s discussions revolved around food security. Al Mheiri said one of the reasons Brazil’s partnership with her country is so successful is that Brazil complies with food security standards, and the UAE provides a good business environment.
As a case in point, she mentioned the processing plant that Brasil Foods, BRF, has in Abu Dhabi. It is the biggest such facility in the entire Middle East. "Those industries are crucial to enabling innovation and adding value to production chains," she said.
"Our national strategy provides for a 30 percent improvement in productivity through agricultural technology, with an eye to making the UAE a world-class innovation hub."
To that end, Al Mheiri said, Brazilian AgTechs (agricultural technology) startups that are popping up more and more in Brazilian farming – are essential.
"We must create platforms to share knowledge in this promising field. Brazil and the UAE have a unique opportunity to work together and enable a paradigm shift in food security, with AgTechs at the core of this strategy. Let us not waste this opportunity."
Brazil’s Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply Tereza Cristina reaffirmed her commitment to developing ever-more solid agreements with Arab countries. She said the strategic partnership between Brazil and the Arab countries is an example of complementarity. "Brazil is the leading exporter of halal protein in the world," she said. "We are known for the quality of our product and the efficiency of our enterprises in meeting the requirements of Arab countries."
She also said the pandemic has evidenced the fact that health and food are interdependent. "Shoppers are demanding even safer food. We must build sustainable agrifood systems and step up international cooperation to cater to growing demand for foodstuffs, and to enhance food security throughout the planet."
Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce Foreign Trade VP and panel moderator Ruy Carlos Cury remarked that Brazil plays a key role in supplying food to the 400 million residents of Arab countries; it accounts for about 50 percent of all the food consumed across the region. Besides supplying items such as sugar and poultry, which are some of the most imported items by Arab countries, the Brazilian government envisions growth opportunities in cocoa, cotton, and dried fruit.
"That is why we are working for direct logistics connections between the two regions, particularly by sea, and we support Brazilian enterprises looking to partner up with Arab countries," Cury said. "It is our responsibility to ensure that hundreds of thousands of people will have access to healthy foods, through halal certification, through complying with Islamic rules."