ABU DHABI: ARAB NEWS
Published — Sunday 21 July 2013
Last update 21 July 2013 3:17 am
Abu Dhabi will host the inaugural Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA) at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from Feb. 3-5, 2014.
Held with the support of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, deputy prime minister of the UAE and minister of presidential affairs, and in 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."
A meeting of members of the GFIA steering committee, comprising sustainable agriculture industry experts from across the globe, this week in the UAE capital provided a platform for delegates to contribute their recommendations and ideas relating to the drivers, challenges and opportunities in their relevant fields.
Attendees included Michael H. Shwartz, president of World Aquaculture Society, Joel Cuello, professor at the University of Arizona, Faisal Awawdeh, regional coordinator, ICARDA and Ahmed Al-Sharif, deputy director general, International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture, among others.
Mark Beaumont, MD, 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 specialised 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.
Guests will have the opportunity to hear from some of the world’s leading thinkers about the new projects employing pioneering research in the field of sustainable agriculture.
"The GFIA conference will offer visitors exciting solutions to change the way they think about food production and food security. We want to spark a movement that will transform the world’s perspective on sustainable agriculture. If you are working on a solution which can help solve one of the world’s biggest problems, we want to hear from you," added Beaumont.