Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, the second edition of Abu Dhabi of the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA) was declared open in Abu Dhabi by His Excellency Dr. Rashid Ahmed Mohammed Bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water of the UAE.
Running from 9 to 11 March 2015, the three-day event has drawn the participation of more than 250 prominent speakers from from global companies and organisations including McCain Continental, World Bank, Clinton Climate Initiative, Plantagon, United Nations and the Committee on World Food Security.
In his opening speech, His Excellency Dr. Rashid Ahmed Mohammed Bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water of the UAE, said: "GFIA articulates the priority of the UAE to galvanize international efforts towards achieving a common vision and approach to leverage innovative and smart solutions for the development of agricultural sector and food production. The forum also aims to enhance our contribution to achieving food security and minimizing food shortage and global poverty.
"The most important challenge that we seek to address through this forum is the need to increase agricultural production by two-third by 2050 to meet the anticipated population growth and solve the issue of limited resources. The experience of past years has shown that our over-dependence on traditional practices and means cannot solve the daunting issue of growing food supply gap between developing and developed countries."
"The role of technology and innovation in the advancement of agricultural and food production sector is no longer a subject of dispute among scholars. However, the question that remains unanswered is the ability of international community to deploy these technologies and ensure the application of ideas and innovative solutions for the benefit of millions of owners of small and medium-sized agricultural ventures, especially in low- and middle-income countries. It is important that we leverage these technologies throughout the production stages towards narrowing the production gap between the developed and developing countries," Dr. Rashid said.
Sharing his expertise under the theme of Climate Smart Agriculture, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales called on participants to contribute to the sustainable agriculture movement through innovation. A pioneer of holistic agriculture with a keen interest in organic farming, the Prince addressed in his video address the crucial challenge of how food can be produced more sustainably.
Speaking about climate change and food production process, Ren Wang, Assistant Director General, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, said: "According to FAO's projections, food production is set to increase by 60% towards 2050, because of population growth and changing dietary patterns. Climate change is already affecting food production as well as food security and nutrition, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable."
In his speech about the agricultural practice of Uganda and the programme of agricultural development, King George Rukidi IV of Uganda outlined the agricultural development programme in his country.
He said: "From my corner of the planet, Toro, Uganda we have embarked on an aggressive programme of agricultural development. These programmes will be managed through the Kingdom of Toro and seek to develop 100,000 acres of land for tree harvesting, increase our banana exports from 100,000 to 150,000 tonnes per year, and finding reliable partners to explore and develop our land."
In his televised speech, United States Secretary of State John Kerry highlighted the importance of finding solutions to the world's need to address the critical challenge of food and water security and climate change.
His Excellency Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri, Acting Group CEO of ADNEC said: "ADNEC is delighted to host the second edition of the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture. I am confident that building on the success of previous editions, GFIA will contribute to generating significant international debate on a wide range of issues issues relating to innovation in agriculture and food production sectors towards addressing future challenges of food security and climate change.