Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA) has signed a cooperation agreement with Hub71, Abu Dhabi's global tech ecosystem to accelerate the development and adoption of ground-breaking technologies in agriculture, food safety, food security and biosecurity. The partnership will bring together stakeholders operating in the AgriTech industry to work in a collaborative environment to empower and support startups in the field of agricultural technology to innovate in the sector.
The agreement was signed by H.E, Dr Mariam Harib AlSuwaidi, Deputy Director General of the operational affairs at Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA), representing ADAFSA, and Ahmad Ali Alwan, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Hub7.
Under the agreement, ADAFSA and Hub71 will work to address the challenges faced by the AgriTech sector by connecting businesses with startups offering technology-based solutions. With the UAE announcing 2023 as the Year of Sustainability, the agreement aligns with the country's ambitions toward a more sustainable future that protects its land and resources.
Startups will also have the opportunity to engage with experts through a mentorship program driven by sector experts. The two entities will also collaborate to build a strong network of AgriTech stakeholders across business, academia, and government to promote partnerships and support startup innovations.
The UAE leads the Middle East and North Africa in the Global Food Security Index (GFSI) for 2022, ranking 23rd in the GFSI overall rank, up 12 places from 2021, and it is ranked 31st in food affordability, 7th in food availability, 16th in food safety and quality, and 53rd in sustainability and adaptation sub-indicators. The National Food Security Strategy aims to develop a comprehensive national system to enable sustainable food production and achieve the leading position in the global food security index by 2051.
H.E. Saeed Al Bahri Al Ameri, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority said: "We are delighted to be working with Hub71 to attract international AgriTech companies to operate out of Abu Dhabi and promote innovative agricultural solutions to support food security and our ambition to achieve first place in the Food Security Index by 2051".
He noted that Hub71 is one of the key initiatives of "Ghadan 21", Abu Dhabi's accelerator programme that was established to stimulate the emirate's development as a diverse center of innovation. The partnership will consolidate the Emirate's position as a global destination for agricultural technologies in desert environments and innovations to address the challenges of soil, water, and climate change. Moreover, international businesses and innovative thinkers also have the chance to profit from the programs and incentives provided by the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
The use of contemporary agricultural technology, according to him, is consistent with the sustainability principles upheld by the governments of Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates, as it offers practical solutions to address the challenges posed by climate change while rationalizing the use of natural resources and raising productivity and supply chain efficiency.
The agreement is a strategic step to support innovation along the value chain from producer to consumer and to promote sustainable food security.
Ahmad Ali Alwan, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Hub71, said: "The agreement with ADAFSA will enable Hub71 to unlock opportunities for AgriTech startups to build ground-breaking technologies that can revolutionize in the agriculture sector. As Abu Dhabi solidifies its commitment to sustainability, AgriTech startups have a vital role to play in delivering solutions that protect food supply chains against environmental challenges, reducing carbon emissions and driving sustainable practices in the process."
Hub71 will source and select leading AgriTech startups from around the world and provide them with access to the ecosystem's company building program, as well as access to ADAFSA's state of the art research laboratories and ADAFSA funded infrastructure across Abu Dhabi, facilitating their contribution to advancing biosecurity systems and improving food quality and safety.
Hub71 and ADAFSA will bridge government and AgriTech sectors in the pursuit of building a larger shared ecosystem for sustainable innovation from the Emirate while bringing stakeholders together in a collaborative environment to engage and transact.
Through the partnership, startups will gain access to the wider Abu Dhabi ecosystem and gain the opportunity to work closely with global tech companies, government bodies and investors to develop advanced AgriTech innovations.
Founders will also benefit from access to Hub71 programs including the Incentive Program, and Ventures Lab as well as benefit from engagement platforms and events such as Hub71's Fundraising Roadshow and Demo Days.