ABU DHABI // Jose Graziano da Silva, the director-general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, has praised the UAE’s efforts towards supporting food security despite the country’s agricultural sector facing climate and water scarcity challenges.
Mr da Silva was speaking to the state news agency Wam at the conclusion of the Khalifa International Date Palm and Agricultural Innovation Award.
This year’s award honoured the FAO and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), among other institutions.
Mr da Silva said that, historically, the date palm tree is the source of food and income for people in the desert. He praised the UAE for promoting knowledge about the tree and the importance of the date palm industry which constitutes a cornerstone of the country’s future food security.
“The FAO is proud to partner with the Khalifa International Date Palm and Agricultural Innovation Award, a major initiative that highlights the importance of the date palm beyond the oases of the UAE,” Mr da Silva said.
“While we at the FAO are looking for new products to feed the hungry and help farmers to overcome poverty and face the challenges imposed by climate change, we see the date palm tree as a global model of resilience, and as a product with a glorious past and a promising future,” he added.
Mr da Silva also met with Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of State for Tolerance, and Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, the Minister of Climate Change and Environment.