Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, Minister of State for Food Security, along with other UAE delegates, visited the Republic of Suriname on 18th and 19th July, 2019, to establish a food security agribusiness corridor between the UAE, Suriname and the Caribbean countries.
The visit formed part of a food security itinerary to Latin America aimed at increasing international cooperation in the areas of food trade, agri-investments and research and development, R&D, across all aspects of the food supply chain.
During the visit, a report compiled by the Minister of State’s Office of Food Security with the support of the UAE embassy in Brasilia was unveiled, which outlined the current barriers to Surinamese food trade in the Caribbean and recommendations on how these can be overcome by leveraging the UAE’s leadership in logistics and support in R&D.
“There is a huge potential for Suriname to increase its food exports to become an important Caribbean food security partner and the UAE has the capacity to help the country realise this potential. My meeting with government officials responsible for the Surinamese food security sector was centred on enhancing cooperation and a partnership between our countries to create a viable food security corridor, a worthy strategic objective that not only serves the UAE and Suriname, but also the Caribbean countries that suffer from a number of food production challenges, including adverse weather systems and a lack of fertile land for growing crops,” Almheiri said.
Among the issues discussed were how the commercialisation of Surinamese agri-products could serve the Caribbean community through economic free zones run by international port operator, DP World, a global leader in logistics. Another area explored was how the UAE could use its experience and know-how with the UAE-based International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture to explore opportunities to improve yields, overcome drought challenges and train women in farming.
Among those in Almheiri’s team offering expert advice were Mohammed Al Muallem, CEO and Managing Director – DP World-UAE Region; Nasser Mohammed Al Junaibi, CEO Farmers Service Centre – Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority; Ali Omar Abdullah, Director, Policies and Strategy Division – Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority; and Abdelrahman Almaazmi, Second Secretary in the UAE embassy in Brasilia.
Almheiri’s agenda in Suriname concluded with an agreed framework between both governments covering four key topics to create the UAE-Suriname Food Corridor, comprising connectivity, agribusiness and investments, R&D, and technical cooperation.