The export of Ukrainian grain and other food products is causing tension in certain eastern EU nations as farmers feel the pinch of competition

Participants in the Food Innovation Conference 2024 on Wednesday got an opportunity to visit farms and factories across the UAE that specialize in food production.

The field trips were organized to showcase the latest technologies and research in food production in the country to a global audience of experts, innovators, public and private businesses, farmers, stakeholders, and investors.

The three-day conference, held under the theme "Reimagining Future Food Systems," provided an opportunity for participants to learn about sustainable agriculture practices.

The participants visited various sites, including the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), Camelicious, Emirates Bio Farm, Bustanica and THRYVE, IFFCO Group's plant-based venture.

The participants also learned about the center's research and latest agricultural innovations, exploring different experiments on soil amendments, climate-resilient crops, and modern irrigation methods among other agricultural technologies.

They also visited the center's genebank, which is responsible for storing more than 16,000 accessions of around 300 drought-, heat-, and salt-tolerant plant species from more than 150 countries and territories.

The visitors also stopped at the world's largest vertical farm in Dubai, Bustanica, where the General Manager Feras Al Soufi explained the importance of food security.

"Food security is one of the pressing challenges facing the Gulf region. Therefore, Bustanica leverages machine learning and artificial intelligence, under the supervision of a team of experts specialized in agricultural engineering, horticulture, and botany, to increase the productivity of Dubai's agricultural sector and expand the supply of high-quality food products," Al Soufi was quoted as saying by WAM.

"Our objective is to adopt the best agricultural practices to position the UAE at the top of the Global Food Security Index. We aim to share knowledge across the region and beyond, empowering sustainable agriculture and securing a resilient food future," he added.

Andrey Dribny, Managing Director of Culinary, IFFCO Group, explained that the population around the world is aware of how to diversify their diet. However, now people are rediscovering the highly nutritious and sustainable crops that are good for health, food security, and sustainable for future generations.

IFFCO's innovative research and development have developed THRYVE, which promotes healthy eating by providing well-balanced, diverse, and sustainable plant-based nutrition.

"We have been seeking to serve the best of Fresh in the United Arab Emirates since 1976. In this dynamic industry of fresh food, we have been leading with innovation to nourish the ambitions of consumers every day," said Kenneth D'Costa, Managing Director at Barakat.

"Establishing platforms such as the Food Innovation Hub is vital to helping local businesses and participants share their best practices for innovation," he added.