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First ‘Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture’ to be held in Abu Dhabi

Last updated: Sunday, July 21, 2013 1:11 PM
GFIA Steering Committee meeting.

The City of Abu Dhabi has been chosen to host the inaugural Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre on Feb. 3-5, 2014.

Held under the patronage of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE and Minister of Presidential Affairs, and in strategic partnership with the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA), the Forum will be the world’s first gathering of innovators, investors and companies dedicated to showcasing new ideas and solutions for feeding the world.

Mohamed Jalal Al Rayssi, Director of Communications and Community Service at ADFCA, said “the Forum will spotlight how scientists and innovators around the world are using the latest technology to develop game-changing innovations to overcome water shortages, pollution and climate change.”

Members of the GFIA Steering Committee, comprising sustainable agriculture industry experts, from across the globe, convened this week in the UAE capital to meet for the first time. The meeting provided a platform for delegates to contribute their recommendations and ideas relating to the drivers, challenges and opportunities in their relevant fields.

Attendees include Dr. Michael H. Shwartz, President of World Aquaculture Society; Dr. Joel Cuello, Professor at the University of Arizona; Dr. Faisal Awawdeh, Regional Coordinator, ICARDA; and Dr. Ahmed AlSharif, Deputy Director General, International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture.

Mark Beaumont, Managing Director of Oriel Events, a co-organizer of the event, discussed the progress of GFIA to date and led discussions on the structure and goals the forum is aiming for.  Beaumont said: “If the world is to feed nine billion people by 2050, it must embrace innovations for sustainable agriculture solutions.  There is currently no event in the world which brings together such a specialized group of people behind the ideas and investment in this revolutionary field.”

With the support of the University of Arizona, the Forum will feature a first-of-its kind live demonstration arena, where delegates can see and experience new innovations and technological advancements first hand, alongside hundreds of solutions-based presentations of new technologies and how they are being employed. 

Some of the most inventive sustainable agricultural projects are already signed up to participate in the Forum, such as the National Taiwan University, whose experts will be presenting their new system which automatically counts fruit flies using infrared beam technology. An innovation that could save farmers millions of dollars as it notifies them when to take action and eradicate an infestation on their crops.

Particularly relevant for farmers in the Middle East, will be the presentation by the Sahara Forest Project, which is successfully reversing desertification by establishing vegetation in arid areas by using deserts, saltwater and CO2 to produce food, freshwater and energy. — SG

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