By Bernd Debusmann Jr
The UAE's federal cabinet also approved $87m in extra budget for national universities
The UAE’s Federal Cabinet has approved a ‘national system’ for sustainable agriculture and ensure its future food security, it was announced on Sunday.
During a virtual meeting of the cabinet, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said that the move is aimed at improving “the efficiency of our UAE farms, enhance our self-sufficiency in food, and create new opportunities to ensure the sector is always ranked among the best.”
According to the state-run WAM news agency, the national agriculture system seeks to increase self-sufficiency from targeted agricultural crops to 50 percent annual and average farm income to 10 percent annually.
Additionally, the system aims to increase the workforce in the sector by 5 percent annually, as well as achieve a 15 percent annual reduction in water consumption used for irrigation. The system will also invest in modern technologies, including artificial intelligence, blockchain and mobile apps that can be used to help farmers monitor insects.
“We have learned from Sheikh Zayed, the founding father of the UAE, the importance of agriculture to sustaining civilization.” Sheikh Mohammed said. “We want to invest in new agricultural fields and mechanisms by harnessing advanced technologies and make proactive changes in agricultural and food systems.”
Additionally, the cabinet approved AED 320 million ($87m) in extra budget for national universities to improve future performance.
“It’s the government’s job to create an ideal environment for students to return in the academic year 2020/2021,” Sheikh Mohammed said.