Israel signs agricultural cooperation agreement with the United Arab Emirates

July 15, 2021
Israel signs agricultural cooperation agreement with the United Arab Emirates

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Oded Forer and United Arab Emirates Minister of Food and Water Security Mariam Almheiri, signed the first agricultural agreement of its kind several minutes ago
Minister of Agriculture Oded Forer: “I am delighted with the visit of the Minister of Food and Water Security Mariam Almheiri, who has chosen to open her visit in Israel at the Ministry of Agriculture. We see eye to eye on the importance of agriculture for food security. This is a major opportunity for cooperation between the two countries, whose agriculture is critical for delivering fresh food to their respective inhabitants. We have sown the seeds for projects that you will be hearing more about”

United Arab Emirates Minister of Food and Water Security Mariam Almheiri: “The United Arab Emirates and Israel share many challenges in the area of food security, and we are cooperating to find innovative and feasible solutions to these challenges. The Memorandum of Understanding between the Emirati Ministry of Food and Water Security and Israel’s Ministry of Agriculture constitutes an important aspect of our collaborative approach, because it enables stakeholders from the public and private sectors in both countries to get involved. The MOU establishes a protocol for identifying the expertise, technologies and the best practices in the food value chain, so that they can be harnessed to create ventures that advance food and agricultural capabilities in order to meet present and future needs in a sustainable manner”.

The Abraham Accords signed between Israel and the United Arab Emirates have brought a message of peace and cooperation in the areas of agriculture, food and water, as well as in other areas of significance. Today, the 13th of July, 2021, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Oded Forer and UAE Minister of Food and Water Security Mariam Almheiri, signed a cooperation agreement in the area of agriculture, and food and water security. The agreement also incorporates cooperation in research and development as well as in the use of fruit and vegetable strains able to withstand desert conditions, cooperation in building applied capabilities in the area of aquaculture and inland agriculture, as well as cooperation in irrigation water management with advanced technologies, and more.

Israeli agriculture is at the forefront of global research and development. The combination of desert conditions that characterize Israel and its extensive and internationally recognized knowledge base provides fertile ground for cooperation with numerous countries and for establishing Israel’s name as a world leader in agriculture. Countries the world over are entering into agricultural collaborations with Israel, and this memorandum affords it yet another opportunity to continue to advance and consolidate its position in the world of agri-tech. Israel also ranks as the number one country in water reclamation. This is one of the ways pursued by Israel to address climate change, as a world-renowned developer of solutions in this field.
According to assessments by competent professionals, the United Arab Emirates consumes 200 cubic meters of water per capita per year, double the figure for Israel. All this, compounded by a shortage of groundwater reserves, high salinity of the existing groundwater, and restricted use of water.

The United Arab Emirates is known for its economic strength, and its extensive fruit and vegetable imports from around the world. The quality of the fresh agricultural produce and the geographic proximity and cooperation between the two countries will lead to the opening of new markets that will advance the Israeli economy, and enable increased exports of Israeli agricultural produce over those of competing countries.
In the past few months, Israel has already exported 370 tons of agricultural produce, commercial shipments and samples, in order to open up the market with the United Arab Emirates in the various branches of agriculture. Exports are transported by sea and air, and include citrus fruits, carrots, eggplant, avocado, dates and peppers.

According to Ministry of Agriculture figures, in recent years, fresh produce output in the United Arab Emirates stands at 1,090,780 tons, of which 47% originates from Abu Dhabi. That said, 80% of the food consumed by the United Arab Emirates’ is imported, worth over US$13 billion. And 80% of the agricultural produce consumed by the United Arab Emirates is imported, valued at over US$3.2 billion (2019). Fruit imports to the UAE in recent years are estimated at 1.8 million tons annually, with an annual average cash value of US$2.1 billion. The main fruits imported to the UAE and also available in Israel are: citrus fruits (oranges and grapefruit), of which the UAE imports 400,000 tons annually, and fresh dates, which totaled 87,000 tons (in 2019).
In recent years, vegetable imports to the UAE are estimated at 2 million tons annually, with an annual average cash value of US$1.1 billion. The main vegetables imported to the UAE and also available in Israel are: potatoes of which the UAE imports 244,000 tons annually (in 2019), and carrots, totaling,100 tons (in 2019).

Yaakov Poleg, Senior Vice President for International Trade and Cooperation at the Israel Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development: “The agricultural cooperation agreement is a first milestone in this field. There is still a long way to go, but this progress is significant for the State of Israel and for Israeli agriculture. We are confident that this agreement will advance relations between the two countries in many respects, especially exports, which have gained momentum in recent months”.

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