Churchill champions agri-food innovation in Dubai

Minister for Agri-Innovation and Climate Adaptation, Jo Churchill, outlined the UK government’s ambition to boost innovation and technology in agriculture during a visit to the United Arab Emirates.

Building on the legacy of the UK’s Presidency of COP26 – which set agriculture and food systems as a top priority on the climate agenda – and looking to COP28 hosted by the United Arab Emirates, the Minister Churchill stressed the importance of investing in new technologies to advance sustainable food production, especially as global demand for food is expected to increase by 40% by 2030.

Speaking at the Agriculture Climate Innovation Mission and Food for Future Summit last week, the Minister stressed the need to unlock investment and partnerships to spur innovation that will help farmers and producers produce more nutritious, climate-change-friendly and disease-resistant food.

As part of the visit, the Minister visited some of the most outstanding examples of low-impact, high-tech food production sites in the UAE, such as the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture, an international research center working on food security and sustainable livelihoods for communities living in marginal environments. The Minister also visited the Jubail Mangrove Park to see firsthand how nature-based solutions can help fight climate change.

During her visit, Minister Churchill highlighted the importance of countries like the UK and the United Arab Emirates sharing their knowledge in the area of ​​agri-innovation to accelerate global climate ambitions. The UK has one of the most renowned agricultural technology sectors in the world – from horticulture with vertical farming systems and water conservation techniques, to aquaculture with farming management techniques of precision that use sensors to optimize fish health and growth.

Investing in technology and innovation is at the heart of the UK government’s efforts to help farmers increase the profitability of their business with less impact on the environment. This is why a range of Defra funds are available to support this ambition, including the Agricultural Innovation Program and the Agricultural Investment Fund.

Minister for Agri-Innovation and Climate Adaptation Jo Churchill said:

Agriculture and food systems are a top priority for the global climate agenda, and science and innovation play a vital role in helping the agri-food industry overcome the challenges posed by climate change and increasing food demand.

Action during this decade is paramount. We must maintain the momentum gained at COP26 and translate commitments into action – making sustainable and climate-resilient agriculture the most attractive and widely adopted option for farmers around the world by 2030 .

The UK government has also set up the Gilbert Initiative to help transform climate-resilient food systems through research and innovation. The initiative is an intergovernmental commitment supported by FCDO, Defra, BEIS, DIT and UKRI to help tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges in food systems. This includes supporting a food system that, by 2030, feeds 9 billion people with nutritious and safe food; strengthen resilience and adaptation to climate change; sustainable use of environmental resources; and generating inclusive growth and jobs.

Last November, the UK saw 197 countries come together at COP26 to forge the historic Glasgow Climate Pact, helping to ensure a better world for future generations. In addition, the UK government has launched the Breakthrough Scheme, which includes Breakthrough Agriculture, designed to promote the adoption of technological, climate-resilient and sustainable farming practices. The UK wants to use the Breakthrough Agenda to accelerate global progress in this Decade of Action, fostering collaboration between leading initiatives such as AIM4Climate in support of climate-resilient and sustainable food systems.

The commitments made at COP26 run alongside the UK’s national Net Zero strategy, which sets an ambition for 75% of English farmers to adopt low-carbon practices by 2030. in the new environmental land management programs, farmers and land managers will be rewarded. to provide environmental benefits alongside profitable food production, create space for nature and improve animal welfare.

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