UAE developing algorithm to help food sector predict global warming impact

UAE developing algorithm to help food sector predict global warming impact
29 April 2021

The UAE’s Emirates Food Security Council has given the green light on a new system designed to help food sector professionals mitigate the impact of global warming.

The Climate Change Impact Tool will assist the sector in understanding how global heating will affect food systems and once up and running it will use existing data and trends within meteorological information to create an algorithm that can predict current and future climate changes.

These insights can then be leveraged by investors, farmers, and government bodies to better predict operating cost variances, water consumption, material usage, maintenance requirements and energy consumption.

The system will examine the best ways of combating heat stress in agriculture, which impacts Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) systems (such as greenhouses) through an increase in energy and water consumption and a decrease in fruit quality.

The Climate Change Impact System was introduced in tandem with the country’s Agricultural Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate), which were both announced during the recent Leaders’ Summit on Climate.AIM for Climate was unveiled during remarks made by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, during the summit, aimed at intensifying and accelerating global innovation and research and development efforts in all aspects of the agricultural sector over the next five years to reduce the repercussions of climate change.HE Mariam Almheiri, Minister of State for Food and Water Security and chairwoman of the Emirates Food Security Council, said: "Climate change is the most pressing issue facing the global community and urgent action is needed to tackle it before we reach the stage of no return. Food systems are integral to how we address climate change as they are not only one of its largest contributors, they are also the sector most heavily impacted by it. In short, food systems are both the current problem and the future solution to climate change.

"By creating sustainable food systems that increase yield while minimising the use of both resources and non-renewable energy, we can reduce the contribution of the agricultural sector to climate change, which will – in turn – lead to healthier food systems and a healthier planet. This is a positive feedback loop that we need to start creating now and the Climate Change Impact System aims to be an important part of the process."Food security is of paramount importance to the UAE, having set up the Emirates Food Security Council last year. The Council tackles various issues such as preparation for emergencies and crises, strategic stocks of food, local agricultural production, food safety, international investment, diversification of food import stocks and nutrition.

It is hoped that by 2051 the UAE will be the number one country on the Global Food Security Index. As of December 2020, Finland is number one on the index, while the UAE is 42nd.