Dubai launches digital platform to tackle food security

The UAE’s National Food Security Strategy 2051 aims to achieve “zero hunger by ensuring access to safe and sufficient food all year round.”
Friday 26/06/2020
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum during his visit the Fish Farm in Jebel Ali, Dubai. June 23. (WAM)
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum during his visit the Fish Farm in Jebel Ali, Dubai. June 23. (WAM)

DUBAI--The coronavirus crisis has prompted authorities in Dubai to develop a digital platform for food security that will help implement the UAE’s strategic plan for food security.

As part of this project, Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, chairman of Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management, announced, Friday, the launch of the “Food Security Dashboard.”

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum during his visit the Fish Farm in Jebel Ali, Dubai, June 23. (WAM)
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum during his visit the Fish Farm in Jebel Ali, Dubai, June 23. (WAM)

“The Food Security Dashboard of Dubai supports the efforts of the Dubai Food Security Committee in line with the UAE’s strategic direction for ensuring food security across the country,” Sheikh Mansour said.

The issue of food security has been one of the top priorities of the UAE as it has appointed the first minister of food security in the world. It has also adopted a forward-looking National Food Security Strategy 2051, which was introduced in November 2018 with the aim of achieving “zero hunger by ensuring access to safe and sufficient food all year round.”

The new “dashboard,” developed by a local government team, is a part of the overall strategy that aims to ensure a high level of preparedness to tackle challenges and develop practical solutions in times of  crises, Sheikh Mansour also pointed out.

The Dubai Food Security Committee, which was formed in order to effectively and efficiently respond to the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic, is committed to “ensuring high levels of food security and supply and enhancing food access for all members of society at reasonable cost and in a sustainable manner,” added Sheikh Mansour.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and prime minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said June 23 that “expanding domestic food production to achieve self-sufficiency is a strategic objective and one of the main pillars of the National Food Security Strategy.”

Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management. (WAM)
Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management. (WAM)

In remarks he made on visiting a fish farm in Jebel Ali, he added that “Food is a strategic commodity… We have a clear strategy and sufficient resources to achieve our objectives. We are confident that we can generate practical solutions to achieve self-sufficiency.”

The dashboard will use artificial intelligence and data analytics to rapidly measure the five important indicators of food security: the supply index, stock availability, local production, consumption levels and the cost of vital commodities in the emirate.

“This dashboard, alongside the Emirate’s digital transformation efforts, enhance the government’s and the community’s strong readiness to face the future… We strive to enhance residents’ wellbeing and prosperity in everything we do, and food security is one of our top priorities,” said Dr Aisha bint Butti bin Bishr, director general of Smart Dubai.

The dashboard is a result of experience gathered in during with the coronavirus crisis towards maintaining long-term strategic stock in vital food commodities. It included “forming teams tasked with ensuring the safety of food supply, forecasting consumption patterns, monitoring the prices of basic food commodities, and protecting consumer rights,” noted Omar Bushahab, chairman of the Dubai Food Security Committee.

“As we work on tackling the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and contributing to enhancing food security levels, we present this dashboard as a unique and practical system that can be used by cities around the world,” he added.