Emarat Al Youm: Self-sufficiency is a Strategic Pillar of Food Security

In the UAE, little has changed in spite of the effects of the global Coronavirus pandemic. The people of the UAE have only felt a limited impact, apart from the precautionary and preventive measures to fight, contain and prevent the spread of the virus. For the majority, living conditions have continued as normal; all essential services and supplies to meet daily needs have remained within reach.

Many countries, including the most developed, saw social unrest immediately after the announcement of curfews or closures to fight the virus; and later on, attacks on public and private property, as well as looting, was seen amid protests on other issues. However, trust and reassurance prevailed in UAE society. While other countries saw a rush to stockpile food in fear of acute shortages, there were no instances of jostling, crowding or violations of public order in the UAE, and no shortages of basic goods.

This sense of order and self-sufficiency was the result of a clear strategy from the UAE’s wise leadership, which places people at the top of its priorities. The UAE leadership focuses most of its attention on ensuring the happiness, well-being, security and stability of all of the people of the UAE, and spares no effort to provide them the highest living standards, in a manner that meets their aspirations, and often exceeds their expectations. Therefore, it is not surprising that people in the UAE are among the happiest in the world, and show incomparable commitment, discipline and cooperation with all government efforts and measures aimed at combating the virus. The people of this benevolent society are eager to contribute to these efforts through volunteering and compliance with the instructions issued by the authorities.

The continual messages the UAE’s wise leadership sent to its people during the crisis had a great impact; instilling confidence and reassurance in the hearts of people, and strengthening the firm conviction, held by all in our society, that the UAE can overcome this unprecedented crisis. For this reason, there is a firm belief that the UAE will emerge more powerful and more able to confront challenges, transforming them into opportunities. The UAE has always been eager to take on challenges and overcome difficulties, believing that nothing is impossible. Given all of this, the future will inevitably be brighter.

From the very start of the crisis, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces (may God protect him), reassured the public with his words, “do not feel burdened”. His vow that the UAE would not allow any shortage of materials or commodities, and would continue to import all goods from around the world, became a fundamental pillar of action that has achieved unparalleled success in maintaining and consolidating food security. This entails providing long-term strategic stocks of various food supplies, ensuring the sustainability of supply chains and finding alternative options to avoid interruptions or shortages.

The UAE has worked to achieve complete self-reliance and minimize its dependence on external factors that affect its food security, and as a result, it enters the post-Coronavirus era with renewed ambition in this field, with new knowledge learned from the impact of the pandemic. The UAE intends to achieve self-sufficiency by expanding domestic agricultural production, of both crops and livestock, and by harnessing the latest technologies that suit the climatic conditions of the country and contribute to increasing productivity and reducing costs.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai (may God protect him), called on the youth and creative minds to propose solutions, innovations and ideas to support the UAE’s food security efforts in the short and long term. This will serve as the start of a new stage, in which the UAE achieves the highest levels of food security. The food of the people of the UAE should be a product of its land, cultivated by the hands and minds of its loyal citizens.