Emirates Development Bank ("EDB" or "the Bank"), the key financial engine of UAE economic development and industrial advancement, is participating in the fifth annual Future Food Forum, underlining its commitment to the UAE's food security.
Taking place in Dubai from 20 to 21 September 2023, the forum gathers major regional and international players in the food industry to shore up the sustainable future of the MENA region’s food sector.
Food security is one of EDB’s five priority sectors that play a vital role in strengthening the UAE's national development and economic diversification plans. The Bank provides significant financial support and tailored solutions to enhance local tech-driven food production. EDB recently launched a dedicated AgriTech Loans Program to drive much-needed capital into the agritech industry. The program aims to provide vital support – in the form of favourable, longer-term loans of up to AED5 million and a tenor of 10 years. - to local producers, farmers, agribusinesses, and food-related projects.
Ahmed Al Naqbi, Chief Executive Officer of Emirates Development Bank, said: “As the UAE's development bank and a key financial engine for national economic development, food security is on top of our agenda. We aim to support the objectives of the UAE National Food Security Strategy 2051 through valued-added financing support to businesses, tailored agritech loans and by building partnerships with emerging companies and key stakeholders. Our efforts reflect our commitment to advancing national agriculture industries and food production capabilities. enabling the UAE to be a regional leader in both sectors.
“The Future Food Forum is an ideal platform for us to present our flexible financing offers to the right audience. We are also keen to learn more about the current and future issues facing the food security sector, and to call for greater collaboration between government stakeholders, local manufacturers, and value-added resellers - vital for a sustainable food ecosystem.”
To further support the UAE’s National Food Security Strategy 2051 and boost the adoption of advanced technology and cutting-edge farming techniques. EDB has several partnerships in place. These include the partnership with the UAE Ministry of Economy ’s Entrepreneurial Nation, to support the Smart Farming Global Innovation Challenge – an initiative that seeks to optimize the digitalization of agriculture for companies based in the UAE and globally. In addition, EDB has signed an agreement with Food Tech Valley to provide financial solutions to companies operating within the project. Food Tech Valley is a hub for innovating future clean tech-based food and agricultural products. EDB has also signed a partnership with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) to set up a scheme to offer finance solutions to modern agricultural SMEs and startups in a bid to drive agritech entrepreneurship and boost the UAE’s and food security.
Abdalla Al Aboodi, Senior Vice President, Project & Corporate Finance, Wholesale & Institutional Banking at Emirates Development Bank joined a panel discussion on the forum’s first day, entitled: "Investing in the Future of Food and Beverage." He was joined by Sankha Biswas, CEO, Nutridor Dairy Manufacturing; Paul Thachil, Managing Director, Oils and Fats, IFFCO Group; and Abdelrazak Al-Sharif, Head of Programs, Sheraa. They discussed financing trends in food tech SMEs, the future outlook for impact investing and sustainable food initiatives, and gave an overview of Government-aided financing, collaborations, and partnerships for industry innovation.
Aligned with government priorities, EDB continues to deliver on its mission of fostering a healthy, sustainable, and self-reliant economy, with a mandate to approve AED30 billion in financing support to 13,500 companies within its five priority sectors - food security, renewables, manufacturing, technology, and healthcare - by 2026.