Dubai, UAE – 20 March 2023 – Her Excellency Mariam Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, attended the graduation ceremony for the first batch of participants in the Youth Food Security Stations national project, which the Ministry had launched in collaboration with the National Service and Reserve Authority.
The programme forms part of the Ministry’s strategy to enhance national food security, ensure flexibility and continuity of supply chains, and empower the youth to venture into agricultural entrepreneurship.
The graduation ceremony was attended by Major General Staff Hassan Mohammad Bani Hammad, Head of Forces Development Authority at the Ministry of Defence, and Hamed Al-Hamed, Founder and Chairman of Gracia Group, a holding group of agriculture-focused companies, which took on the task of training reserve service recruits.
H.E. Mariam Almheiri thanked the National Service and Reserve Authority for the support it provided for the project and for selecting an elite group of young Emirati reserve service recruits to develop their skills in agriculture. H.E. also thanked Gracia Group for its efforts in training the young participants to develop their agricultural skills and knowledge.
“Food security has certainly created an urgent need to involve the youth in efforts to achieve the UAE’s vision to enhance food security, relying on innovation to address a range of challenges facing this sector,” H.E. Almheiri said. “The youth are the present and future of our country, and our wise leadership firmly believes in the importance of engaging them in various sectors, and involving them in efforts to find solutions for all of our challenges.”
“Our role in the UAE is to sustainably increase food production in a way that helps minimise the impact of climate change and protects the environment,” H.E. continued. “In light of the ‘Year of Sustainability’ initiative, and in the lead-up to hosting the 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28), the UAE is working on innovative, hi-tech solutions to meet its climate and environmental commitments, all the while providing a global example in enhancing food security.”
H.E. Almheiri went on to note that: “The young graduates from this national project, who we are honouring today, are the seed for the Emirati farmers of the future, and will always commit to supporting them in establishing their projects and activities to increase agricultural and food production by all means. This will ultimately serve to increase food production and narrow the import gap, and I am confident that our graduates now possess the knowledge, skills, and experience they need to play a vital role in enhancing the UAE’s food security.”
The first batch of graduates from the Youth Food Security Stations national project consisted of 50 reserve service recruits. Over the course of nearly two years, and with training support from Gracia Group, the project sought to expand students’ knowledge and provide them with the necessary expertise and skills in agriculture and related industries.
It aimed to develop integrated modern agricultural stations that use the latest technologies, adapting them the UAE’s climate conditions in a bid to hone young people’s skills in the agriculture sector, train them to implement and manage various advanced agricultural systems, and enhance the production capacities of these systems and market their products. This, in turn, boosts their entrepreneurial abilities, encourages them to invest in sustainable food production systems, helps support food security and sustainability goals, and ensures the flexibility and continuity of supply chains.
The project offers an integrated system to increase the volume and quality of local agricultural production (vegetable, animal, fish, and bees), designed to build the youth’s capacities in the field of food investment, providing both theoretical and practical studies covering a range of topics, such as agricultural entrepreneurship and management, designing modern farms, principles of sustainable agricultural production and post-harvest technologies, promotion and marketing, and forecasting the future of agricultural innovations.