In the week of 12 to 17 June, dignitaries, investors, and horticultural entrepreneurs from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be visiting the Dutch food & flower industry. The incoming mission from the UAE is officially chaired by Her Excellency Sheikha Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, UAE’s Minister of Climate Change and the Environment. The visit will lead to the consolidation and expansion of cooperation and to an understanding of how the Dutch eco-system and Dutch advanced and high-tech solutions contribute to food safety and food security.
The UAE has a clear ambition to become more self-sufficient and to produce fresh food locally in an efficient and sustainable way. In recent years, the UAE – the government as well as the business community – has shown great interest in Dutch advanced and high-tech solutions to enable the safe and secure production of food. The Dutch horticulture cluster has visited the UAE with outgoing missions and an extensive network of relationships has been established with governments, investors, and horticulture entrepreneurs. The mission in June will be organized by the UAE embassy and horticulture council in close cooperation with a variety of Dutch sector parties. The central themes of the mission are food production, horticultural education, start-ups and scale-ups, investments and finance, and the role of governments.
Deputy Minister HE Tamabek Abulkhair Galymovich, CEO of Dutch Greenhouse Delta, Eric Egberts, and Minister HE Mariam Bint Almheiri.
Contributing to efficient and sustainable food production
Besides visiting GreenTech in the RAI Amsterdam, known as the worldwide meeting place for all professionals involved in horticultural technology, they will also visit the world horticultural exhibition Floriade Expo 2022 in Almere. The remaining days will be filled with meetings with horticultural (technology) companies, government agencies, and agricultural training institutes. There will also be plenty of networking and matchmaking opportunities.
The Dutch horticultural cluster already organized the successful Horticultural Days at Expo 2020 Dubai (UAE) in February this year, where the Netherlands showed that it has all the necessary in-house knowledge and solutions to shape food production in an efficient, sustainable and safe manner thanks to the ‘Uniting Water Energy Food’ theme. Many leading entrepreneurs from the UAE participated in the Horticultural Days. Sky Kurtz, CEO of the innovative company Pure Harvest Smart Farms, said there: “What I find remarkable about the Netherlands, and what is unique in the world apart from perhaps Silicon Valley, is that horticulture in the Netherlands has every element of the eco-system; investors, governments, technology companies, service providers and retailers; from development to sales. They work closely together and have an enormous knowledge and understanding of the value that each represents.”
Innovative Dutch technology in the UAE
The Netherlands has a leading global position in the field of horticulture (technology) and the development of horticultural projects abroad. Dutch horticulture has the knowledge, expertise, and technology to support countries and cities around the world to become more self-sufficient in food production and allow them to produce food efficiently all year round. Even in the most challenging climate conditions, such as in the UAE, where high temperatures and limited arable land and natural water resources make producing food particularly challenging. A good example of how Dutch innovative solutions are applied in the UAE is Armela Farms, the largest producer of water-grown lettuce in the UAE. A specific concept has been developed for them, in which both the air and the supplied CO2 are almost one hundred percent recirculated. This enables them to grow leafy vegetables in a high-quality and sustainable manner. Another notable example is the new state-of-the-art indoor farm Madar Farms in the Abu Dhabi port area, where 5,000 m2 of tomatoes and micro cresses are being cultivated. This indoor farm uses Dutch technology and is completely pesticide-free. All the water is recirculated, the CO2 is dosed very efficiently, and the whole production runs on electricity.
Special program in the Vision Theatre at GreenTech
Especially for this incoming mission, GreenTech organizes an interactive and international program at the Vision Theatre on the Opening day, specifically focused on the climate challenges and developments in the UAE. Minister Almheiri will kick off the event, and companies will be discussing challenges and solutions. The focus will be on how the application of sustainable and innovative technologies offers solutions for the water-food nexus: “The water supply for agriculture is a growing problem in the Gulf region. The UAE is working hard to solve this challenge, as water availability has a major impact on the availability of sufficient, safe, and affordable food for the growing population. The close cooperation between the governments, businesses, and knowledge institutes of the UAE and the Netherlands has led to an approach that focuses on building food-tech valleys,” says Mariska Dreshler, CEO of GreenTech.