Health & Environment

Abu Dhabi launches new economic agrifood, water cluster

HH Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, has approved the launch of the AgriFood Growth and Water Abundance (AGWA) cluster. 
Located in Abu Dhabi, Agwa is an integrated economic cluster poised to play a leading role in global efforts to tackle food shortages and water scarcity. 
Led by the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) and Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), Agwa is set to become a global hub for novel food and ingredients, as well as technologies to increase access to and the utilisation of water resources. 
This innovative cluster is designed to support local suppliers and exporters alike, serving as a platform to maximise commercial opportunities. The cluster aims to help meet increasing global demand, alleviate pressures on agricultural systems, address shifting dietary patterns, capitalise on technological advancements, and support global food security to ensure a reliable and resilient supply chain.
Agwa taps into a AED77.4 trillion ($21 trillion) industry with significant potential for economic growth and job creation. 
By 2045, the cluster is expected to contribute AED90 billion in incremental GDP to Abu Dhabi’s economy, create more than 60,000 new jobs, and attract AED128 billion in investments.
Sheikh Khaled emphasised the pivotal role of Agwa cluster in strengthening the national food and water security ecosystem, adding that by embracing cutting-edge technologies and innovative solutions, the cluster will cultivate sustainable local production and effectively address the increasing international and regional demand for food and water.
He pointed out that food and water security was a top national priority for the leadership to ensure a resilient agricultural and water production ecosystem, using smart solutions and driving research and innovation projects in modern agricultural technologies to not only diversify the local economy but also propel sustainable development in line with the goals of the National Food Security Strategy 2051 and the UAE Water Security Strategy 2036.
Agwa will support pioneers in the food and water industry to leverage innovations in alternative proteins, algae and reverse osmosis technologies, and also to enhance traditional food and water production and supply. 
ADDED Chairman Ahmed Jasim Al Zaabi said: "The launch of the Agwa cluster is a game changer in our efforts to further diversify the economy, enhance innovation, and achieve objectives of the UAE food security strategy 2051. It enables us to accelerate innovations in advanced technologies to address the pressing needs for sustainable water and food sources both locally and globally." 
Abu Dhabi, he stated, had been exploring sustainable solution to food production challenges since late 1960s. 
"In 1969, the late Sheikh Zayed, the visionary founder of the UAE, established the first network of greenhouses on Saadiyat Island, employing advanced technologies of that era to ensure sustainable food production. Our recent initiatives continue this legacy of long-term vision and commitment to innovation, sustainability, and inclusive socio-economic development," he added. 
ADIO Director General Badr Al Olama said: "Abu Dhabi’s new food and water economic cluster addresses sustainability, critical global challenges, and new investment opportunities. This is the next step in achieving Abu Dhabi’s economic diversification strategy by accelerating non-oil sectors."
"In most regions worldwide, over 70 per cent of freshwater is utilsised for agriculture. By 2050, feeding a global population exceeding nine billion will necessitate a projected 50 per cent increase in agricultural production and a 15 per cent rise in water withdrawals, according to the World Bank," he added.-TradeArabia News Service