UAE seeks ideas to address global food security challenges

Credit: Gorodenkoff

A FoodTech Challenge launched by the UAE Government is aiming to foster international collaboration to find innovative solutions across the food value chain.

Open to applicants from around the world, the FoodTech Challenge seeks commercially viable solutions that promote sustainable food practices and stimulate domestic food production in the UAE.

At the end of the competition, four teams will be awarded against a $1 million prize pool defined by in-kind support totalling $150,000 via Catalyst, a Masdar-BP accelerator, and a $100,000 cash prize.

The challenge was launched in support of the country’s aim to encourage the adoption of urban farming solutions at the national, community, and household levels.

It is an initiative of the UAE Office of State for Food Security in partnership with Tamkeen, an Abu Dhabi-based company mandated to deliver projects to meet the UAE’s vision of knowledge-based development.

Applications opened last year and will remain open until February 2020, when submissions will be shortlisted and the top 10 teams will present their business cases at an awards ceremony held at New York University Abu Dhabi in April 2020.

A panel of VIP judges including agtech industry experts will select four winners across two categories: ‘household farming’ and ‘community farming’.

Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, UAE Minister of State for Food Security, said: “Despite challenges related to scarcity of water resources and arable land, we have begun to see agtech solutions gain traction in the UAE.

“The FoodTech Challenge works towards the goal of attracting bright minds and encouraging innovators from around the world to take part in shaping the future of sustainable food systems.

“We believe that by setting this contest in motion, and delivering results through agtech solutions, we can create a replicable model for the world.”

Applications can be submitted here.