During Ramadan we talked about the remarkable efforts the UAE has made to fulfil the four dimensions of food security – availability, utilisation, access, and stability – to ensure the nation’s 180-plus nationalities are fortunate enough to live as they would at home, by reproducing their culture and habits through the food they eat every day.
The one dimension where we need to show continuous vigilance is in stability, because, as a desert nation, about 80 per cent of our food supply comes from lands more amenable to food production, making it essential for the UAE to manage the risks generated by the laws, regulations and stability of source countries, including those where the UAE seeks to invest or has invested in the agri-food sector, in Africa, Latin America, or the Middle East. Part of the solution for us to be able to manage this risk in the long term, is to produce some of our food locally.
The current system the UAE Government and the national food industry employs keeps a healthy balance between self-sufficiency and imports. An important element of government support is the subsidies that remain in place on critical channels, such as poultry feed for commercial farms to encourage local production of fresh chicken, and support for dairy farms to ensure sufficient local supply of milk and related products.