R&D Priorities

As the world population is forecast to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, food production will need to be increased by at least 70%, including a 50% rise in annual cereal production, to meet future demand. On the other hand, food waste and loss are on the rise accounting for 1/3 of the global food production and valued at 1 trillion USD.

However, agricultural productivity is undergoing a decline in many parts of the world due to many challenges such as water scarcity, climate change and salinization, among other things.

As a result, it is important to increase public-sector and private-sector investments in research and development on sustainable food systems under unfavorable climatic and environmental conditions to ensure future food security.

This is particularly true of the Middle East and Gulf regions which face considerable challenges to food production and agriculture. In the UAE, imports make up 90 percent of the total consumed as food production under local conditions is very resource-intensive. Hence, it is necessary to boost research and development on sustainable agriculture.

Key Statistics

The agricultural sector’s contribution to GDP


Spending on research and development (of GDP)


Imported food


Water for agriculture

One area that shows a lot of promise under local conditions is soilless farming.

Soilless farming has the following benefits:

  • Reduces labour intensiveness
  • Frees land
  • Improves productivity
  • Reduces water consumption
  • Reduces crop loss