The Ministry of Climate Change and the Environment launched the Food and Agriculture Entrepreneurs Programme, designed to help young participants hone their skills in managing agriculture and livestock projects.
Set to be implemented from 2023 to 2025, the programme forms part of the “Transformational Projects” initiative of the Council of Ministers, and offers an integrated system that enables its target audience to establish their own companies in the UAE agriculture sector.
Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment, said, “In line with the Year of Sustainability initiative and in an effort to achieve the objectives of the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP28), the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment is working to empower and encourage youth to play an active role in advancing the agriculture and livestock sectors, and to achieve national food security. The UAE will seek to encourage other countries to share experiences, lessons learned, and best practices to create new opportunities for transforming food systems, which can only be achieved through collaboration.”
Almheiri indicated that the Ministry is working in collaboration with its strategic partners to empower young entrepreneurs in the fields of agriculture and food trade, develop their skills, and train them to market their products. This, in turn, helps support food security and ensures sustainability by diversifying national food production.
Mohammed Al Ameeri, Assistant Under-Secretary for the Food Diversity Sector at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, stated, “The Ministry is working to enhance sustainability and national food security with an integrated system based on innovation and practical solutions – and entrepreneurship plays a pivotal role in achieving this goal. With that in mind, we launched the Food and Agriculture Entrepreneurs Programme to build young participants’ capacities and skills in managing agriculture and livestock businesses. The programme offers an integrated system to enable all participants to establish their own companies and serve the agriculture sector in the UAE.”
“The programme will be a significant step towards employing the capabilities of entrepreneurs to support agriculture and livestock sectors in the UAE, by enabling them to access key information, expertise, and experiences, all the while encouraging them to launch businesses that can advance these industries at all levels,” Al Ameeri added. “The programme also offers a platform to communicate our experiences with various other countries, in an effort to achieve our common goals in enhancing global food security and finding solutions to all challenges in that regard.”
The programme was launched on the side lines of the third meeting of the Farmers’ Council, chaired by Mariam Almheiri at the headquarters of the Gracia Group in Abu Dhabi, which discussed developments in the Council’s activities.
The Gracia Group is the strategic partner for training participants in the Food and Agriculture Entrepreneurs Programme, which is designed to train entrepreneurs and review agricultural projects that serve the local market and UAE farmers. This includes agricultural production and marketing; livestock production and marketing; creating sustainable projects by securing outlets for the sale of services; securing potential financing for projects; enlisting strategic partners from the private sector to support food and agriculture entrepreneurs; training 30 participants to ensure 50 shareholders in commercial and agricultural businesses in the UAE within three years; and achieving permanent sustainability for the startups that will be launched for a period of more than two years.
The programme aims to train candidates on agricultural planning, entrepreneurship, and commercial management of agriculture and livestock projects. It also strives to bring in partners from the private sector to support food and agriculture entrepreneurs, as well as to train 30 participants every year. Training will split into several phases, where phase one offers general training in agricultural entrepreneurship, shedding light on entrepreneurship and the agriculture sector as a whole. The objective is to design a pioneering farm, map out future agricultural innovations, review agricultural research, and explore ways to manage agricultural marketing.
The second phase will focus on studying the concept of strategic planning and ways to implement it on the ground, highlighting its role in the success and continuity of the project.
Meanwhile, phase three focuses on vocational and specialised training, and is divided into two groups: Agricultural Marketing and Production and Livestock Marketing and Production. It includes having participants visit successful projects in various sectors related to agriculture and livestock, such as honey farms, livestock, chicken, agriculture, agricultural technology, and mushroom farms. The third phase also includes group and individual discussions regarding the trainees’ own projects, where appropriate analysis techniques are used to study the market.
The first group includes an introduction into the species of plants found in the Emirates and key products made in the country. It covers everything from supervising agricultural systems of all kinds, to seed planting operations and caring for plantations. Moreover, the training covers supervising cultivation in open fields and greenhouses, carrying out fertiliser distribution, implementing natural procedures for crop processing, and preparing a production plan for a farm in line with market requirements.
The second group, meanwhile, introduces participants to livestock production, which is one of the most important pillars in enhancing food security and achieving self-sufficiency by meeting the country’s demand for red and white meat, as well as for dairy products, from local breeding facilities. The key sector is set to be developed with training programmes that promote preventative measures and best practices.
Candidates looking to join the programme are required to be UAE citizens over 18 years of age, and to be interested in entrepreneurship, in order to apply for one of the two activities: Agricultural Marketing and Production and Livestock Marketing and Production.