Agricultural Technology In The Middle East

France to financially support Palestinian agriculture in Area C – Middle  East Monitor

There is a clear truth that there is a significant gap between the amount of agricultural goods produced and the global demand for food. By 2050, the world’s population is expected to reach 10 billion, and to meet the pace of demand, annual cereal production will need to be increased to 3 billion tons, up from the 2.1 billion tons produced today .

While agriculture in the Middle East represents only 13% of the region’s GDP , it plays a strategically important role in promoting resilient food systems slot365 deposit gopay, keeping important economic sectors alive, and forming the basis of many economies. Of the region’s total population of 296 million people, 84 million, or 28%, are entirely dependent on agriculture.

Historically, agriculture has long been the center of social and economic life in the Middle East, with diets dependent on the production of cereals and livestock, and later, fruit and vegetables produced on carefully irrigated land.

With its generally drier climate and more limited water resources, necessity has pushed the region into a center for ancient and contemporary agricultural innovation, from irrigation practices to fertilizers.

However, scarce arable land and continued water supplies are proving to be increasingly detrimental to regional food production, making many countries highly dependent on imported agricultural products and, therefore, highly vulnerable to fluctuations in international commodity markets.

Climate change, food trade imbalance

Around the world, weather and desertification patterns are becoming increasingly irregular. Nearly two-thirds of the Middle East’s population lives in areas that lack sufficient renewable water resources to sustain crop production. On average, 83% of water use in MENA is used for agriculture, as opposed to only 4% for industrial purposes .

The region’s high urbanization rate, which stands at 70% today , and an estimated population to increase to 329 million by 2050 make it highly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.

Malthus’ premise of population growth leading to inevitable scarcity and suffering helps explain the decline in agricultural productivity, but is limited in its ability to explain or propose solutions to problems at hand, regionally or globally.

In the Middle East, disproportionate consumption patterns have played a major role in promoting food insecurity. Indeed, countries in the region are the largest importers of cereals in the world today and import at least 50% of the food calories they consume .

The ongoing dynamics of climate change have further intensified the global food trade imbalance and disproportionately affected food insecure slot depo gopay and import-reliant regions such as the Middle East.

In such a context, the possibility of accommodating increased agricultural demand with existing agricultural practices would result in more intense competition for natural resources, increase gas emissions, and lead to further land degradation. The case of Iran is instructive: Currently, about half of the agricultural land

Iran is on “poor quality” land, which has led farmers to invest in unsustainable groundwater pumping systems, increasing soil salinity and jeopardizing renewable water resources. Short term fixes for what are systemic problems are unlikely to be effective in the long term.

However, in a region that has been at the forefront of recent technological developments, a new trend has emerged that may promise a solution to the problem of food scarcity.

Over the past decade, new technologies have been developed to address longstanding agricultural structural problems associated with unproductive agricultural land and water shortages. Such initiatives have the potential to play an important role in promoting the resilience of food systems across the region.

The technology is designed to increase and increase the output of the agricultural sector, while using less energy and more sustainable methods.

Responding to the need to promote sustainable agricultural growth, current agricultural technology (or “agritech”) aims to reduce agrarian waste and use of chemical fertilizers. Looking to the future while taking cues from the past could open a solution to the region’s desperate food insecurity.

A range of technologies developed at different scales

This development is part of agrarian developments since the last hundred years to increase agricultural productivity and is thus part of the agritech model. Over the past decade, the region has witnessed a fledgling agritech start-up scene, leveraging technologies such as data analytics, internet of things (IoT), and artificial intelligence (AI).

Sustainable agriculture is promoted on two different scales across the region. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are at the forefront of the “large-scale” agritech movement through collaborative partnerships slot deposit gopay between startups, private businesses and governments.

The UAE has made the most significant investment in this area to date, with the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) investing no less than $100 million in agritech companies within the context of the National Food Security Strategy. Indeed, exploring agritech solutions is particularly relevant for GCC countries, which are particularly vulnerable to water scarcity and accelerated desertification.

For the Gulf states, agritech succeeded in a series of failed strategies aimed at increasing the production of agricultural staples at great cost. In the early 1970s, Saudi Arabia, for example, initiated large water irrigation subsidies to increase wheat production, a substantial cost the arid country could no longer afford in 2008 .

Another aspect of the GCC countries’ agrarian strategies consists of buying arable farmland and pursuing agricultural investments in Africa, to help ensure food supplies. In Zambia, Gulf investors are focusing on direct acquisition of agricultural land, with the aim of producing grains, sugar, nuts and seeds, to increase food security.

In 2016, total non-oil trade between Africa and the UAE was $24 billion, up from $17.5 billion in 2014, driven mainly by increased exports of food production from the African continent to the Emirates.

By promoting innovative farming methods in a sustainable manner, agritech departs from previous efforts to increase food production. As such, it may represent an adequate response to the aforementioned water scarcity challenges in the long term.

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