UAE, Brazil to work together for paradigm shift in food security - GulfToday

UAE, Brazil to work together for paradigm shift in food security


Mariam Al Mheiri kicked off the third day of the Brazil-Arab Countries Economic Forum.

Business Bureau, Gulf Today

Mariam Bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Al Mheiri, UAE Minister of State for Food Security, and Brazil’s Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply, Tereza Cristina, kicked off the third day of the Brazil-Arab Countries Economic Forum.

In her speech, Al Mheiri said that one of the reasons behind Brazil’s successful partnership with the UAE is its compliance with global food security standards, in addition to the Emirates’ exceptional business-friendly environment.

“Statistics reveal how Brazil’s output is important to global food security. Our national strategy provides for a 30 per cent improvement in productivity through agricultural technology (AgTech) in a bid to make the UAE a world-class innovation hub. Brazil and the UAE have a unique opportunity to work together to enable a paradigm shift in food security, with AgTech at the core of this strategy. Let us not waste this opportunity,” said the UAE Minister of State for Food Security.

Speaking on the theme ‘Food Security: A strategic partnership between Brazil and the Arab world,’ the Brazilian Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply, on the other hand, pointed to the enormous growth potential of Brazilian agricultural trade with Arab countries as she noted their long history of cooperation. Brazil is considered the world’s largest exporter of halal protein, which follows the precepts of Islam.

She further emphasized that the post-pandemic economic recovery brings with it a unique opportunity to steer economic efforts towards sustainable development. “It is of utmost importance to build sustainable and resilient agri-food systems to ensure food safety,” she said.

“Regarding Brazilian imports, which have been growing in recent years, I highlight the important participation of fish, vegetables and fruits,” she said as she recalled that trade between Brazil and Arab countries is solid and complementary as far as both of them carry out beneficial partnerships based on relationships of trust and respect.

Teresa Cristina also noted the many opportunities for advancement and investment, from infrastructure in Brazil to the installation of national companies in the agricultural sector in the Arab countries. For an even more effective maintenance of relations between the two regions and the realization of new business opportunities, Brazil, she said, intends, as soon as possible, to resume the agenda of face-to-face international contacts.

Partnership between communities is vital The Vice President of Foreign Trade of ABCC, Ruy Carlos Cury, who also participated during the forum on Wednesday, said that the closer partnerships that Brazil has with the Arab League in the area of food security is vital, since Brazil supplies food to the 420 million people who live in the Arab countries. He noted that Brazil is responsible for supplying almost 50 per cent of the food consumed in the bloc, and, in some countries, this percentage reaches 80 per cent.

“Even with the pandemic, and although some products registered fluctuations in availability, there was no shortage, which proves the solidity of the Brazilian agribusiness, the commercial partnership between Brazil and Arab countries in the food area and the immense willingness of both sides to maintain cooperation,” Cury remarked.

Digital transformation: Characterised by an increased adoption of technological advancements and modern communication tools to bridge gaps and strengthen partnerships, the pandemic period has in fact brought Brazil closer to the Arab region, said Nidal Abou Zaki, Managing Director of Orient Planet Group, during his participation at the Brazil-Arab Countries Economic Forum 2020. This period following the outbreak of COVID-19 has added more flexibility and agility to the way business is conducted around the world and is set to pave the way for further strengthened Arab-Brazilian collaboration across multiple sectors, he said.

Hosted by the Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (ABCC) and inaugurated by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, the special online edition of the forum themed ‘The Future is Now’ convened high-level authorities, business executives and other dignitaries from Brazil and Arab League member countries. The four-day event took place from October 19 to 22 and featured discussion panels, signing of agreements, and an exhibition that was staged in a computer-generated 3D environment.

Attendees at the forum included Ahmed Abou Al Ghait, Secretary General of Arab League; Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, UAE Minister of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain; Khaled Hanafy, Secretary General of the Union of Arab Chambers; Ambassador Ernesto Araújo, Brazil’s Minister of Foreign Affairs; Tereza Cristina, Brazil’s Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply; and Ouided Bouchamaoui, Co-Laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize 2015.

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