The Global Forum for Innovation in Agriculture (GFIA) is one of the world’s largest events for agricultural innovation took place in Abu Dhabi from February 3 and closed Feb 5.
The theme of the forum was ‘Driving Innovation/Visions for an Agricultural Revolution’.
Some of the industry’s leading innovators, investors, producers, retailers, scientists, government officials, NGOs and agricultural organizations came together to brainstorm and consider ways that sustainable agricultural technologies can profitably benefit the GCC nations. The issue of global food security was the core of the forum.
As well as the larger businesses and organizations due to take part, the conference, exhibition, panel discussions, workshops, and meetings will also feature entrepreneurs and small businesses who either have a valuable contribution to make, or wish to learn new techniques, technologies and products.
On the first day of the forum, there were Power Sessions during which 52 of the world’s largest innovators presented and demonstrated their big ideas on sustainable agricultural projects. Presentations ranged from a variety of technological advances in reducing water consumption and new generations of automated robotic systems for pest control. Others included The Farmery, a growing/retail environment actually within a supermarket, and an experimental ‘sea farm’ producing seaweeds for feed and food production.
There were discussions on Africa: the Frontier for Arid Farming, as you are aware, Africa has two deserts, the Sahara and the Kalahari deserts and this calls for concern where food is concerned.
There were experts from around the world, including Johan Steyn, the Managing Director for Cargill in the Middle East and Africa, Dr Roy Steiner, Deputy Director of Agricultural Development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Pierre Herben, Chief Technology Officer at Yara International, one of the world’s largest fertilizer and crop nutrition companies.
GFIA 2014 was adjudged to be successful because new partnerships are being formed. The public, private and non-profit platforms are collaborating as some of the world’s most astounding innovations with great potential for adoption by farmers in the United Arab Emirates.
The forum agreed that the key to addressing the challenges of food security is business model innovation, and collaboration between different stakeholders. There should be shift in industry focus towards sustainable intensive agriculture.
BELVYNA team supports the idea that the possibility of farmers cultivating food crops under irrigation, using improved inputs (seeds and fertilizer) should be vigorously pursued. Storage facilities, processing and distribution channels must be strengthened so that the poorest of the poor will not die from hunger and disease.