Leading sustainable agriculture event reports 35% increase in visitor numbers as global food security issue aggravates

GFIA Conference Photo

Abu Dhabi, UAE, 1 March 2016: More than 6,000 visitors from 96 countries took part in the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA) which saw dozens of presentations and panel discussions designed to help tackle world hunger.

The event, which took place from 16-17 February at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, showcased more than 80 game-changing innovations for agriculture.

The exhibition, held 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 and in strategic partnership with Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, attracted more than 150 leading agri-scientists and registered a 35% growth rate compared to the footfall in the previous year.

Ali Yousef Al Saad, Acting Director of Communication and Community Service at ADFCA, said that the success of the GFIA’s 3rd edition was reflective of two factors:  the pressing need to provide the rapidly increasing global population with food as well as its co-location with VIV MEA, a livestock production event, also dedicated to sustainable farming.

“The partnership with VIV MEA is a significant milestone for our show as it increases the opportunities for finding creative and viable solutions to help farmers adapt to and, where possible, mitigate the effects of global warming,” said Al Saad.

“We have to collaborate if we are to feed 9 billion people by 2050 while facing the challenges caused by changing climate.

“GFIA is one of a kind forum that gathers the world’s brightest innovators, producers, policymakers and investors not only to benefit each other, but to protect environmental biodiversity, and deliver technologies that can improve nutrition and social prosperity in developing countries as well as the regions affected by water scarcity. Ultimately, we work to ensure global food security.”

Al Saad is confident that the strategic location of the event, supported by the advanced infrastructure facilities, makes GFIA an ideal forum that enables its participants to have a viable impact on agricultural sector as well as global food security.

From among 80 cutting-edge solutions for sustainable farming, the highlights included micro-chips designed for honey bees to conduct research on their rapidly declining population, drones used for plant disease detection and harvest management, self-watering desert greenhouses or self-sterilizing and solar-energy driven tents for storing fruits and vegetables.

A combination of global experts in agriculture solutions participated in the show’s two-day conference, “Game-changing innovations for food security” including business leaders, NGOs, and policy makers who weighed in on sustainable farming.

During 32 dedicated sessions, panellists discussed innovation-friendly environments needed for farming businesses to succeed today, viable opportunities for creative policy making and innovative technology solutions. While the sessions differed in scope, the speakers unanimously concluded that farmers, business people, and governments have a responsibility to drive collaborative efforts to counter global hunger through pioneering developments in sustainable agriculture.

More than 250 international delegates attended technical tours at four sites in Dubai and Abu Dhabi the day after the conference.

The tours included: Model Farm, showcasing latest vegetables cultivation practices; Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, featuring cutting-edge aquaculture solutions; The Sustainable City – a community farm dedicated to sustainable urban horticulture; and International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture presenting research findings on quinoa, energy saving greenhouses, desalinating water innovations, and drought monitoring technology.

GFIA was sponsored by the UAE Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Khalifa International Award for Date Palm & Agricultural Innovation, Abu Dhabi Farmers Services Centre, Emirates Food Industries, Koppert Biological Systems, AGCO, GODAN, Mato Grosso, The Rockefeller Foundation and CoolFarm and staged with the support of Masdar Institute, University of Arizona, Kingdom of The Netherlands, CTA, GlobalG.A.P, CGIAR, SAI Platform, Wageningen UR and the Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau.