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Agriculture investment fund doubles since Cop27 to $17bn

Technology from Independent Growth Solutions will be used at the Dubai 'gigafarm' Intelligent Growth Solutions
Technology from Independent Growth Solutions will be used at Dubai's 900,000sq ft 'gigafarm'
  • Agricultural innovation a top priority
  • Investment in Aim for Climate reaches $17 billion
  • Government sign-up increases to 600

Investment in a UAE and US-led global agriculture and food initiative has reached $17 billion, as the Cop 28 conference saw a slew of developments in the sector.

The Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (Aim for Climate) aims to address climate change and global hunger through increased investment in “climate-smart agriculture and food systems innovation” up to 2025.

The number of government and non-government partners involved in the initiative has more than doubled in the last year to 600.

Investments have also increased twofold from $8 billion reported at last year’s Cop27 in Egypt.

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“The private sector has played a huge role and philanthropy has played a huge role in stepping up to mobilise investments into this space,” said Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, UAE minister of climate change and environment.

More than $12 billion has been committed by governments including Bahrain, Israel, Morocco and the UAE.

Aim for Climate introduced 27 “Innovation Sprints”, initiatives led and self-funded by partners to expedite innovation in agricultural and food systems. There are now 78 such initiatives in total.

Investments are being targeted across four key areas: smallholder farmers in low- and middle-income countries; emerging technologies; agro-ecological research; and methane reduction.

Global food systems accounted for 17 billion metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent or 31 percent of human-made greenhouse gas emissions in 2019, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.

“We could excel in the renewable energy space, in the energy space, but we would not be able to reach 1.5C if we don’t fix our food and ag sector,” said Almheiri.

The UAE has also launched a “gigafarm” capable of replacing one percent of the country’s food imports in Dubai’s Food Tech Valley. 

The 900,000sq ft farm will be capable of recycling more than 50,000 tonnes of food waste and growing two billion plants each year. Technology will be provided by the Scottish firm Intelligent Growth Solutions.

Another agricultural innovation highlight at Cop28 was the announcement by the UAE and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation of a $200 million partnership to strengthen food systems through investment in innovative farming techniques. 

The UAE has also secured endorsement from more than 134 leaders to the Cop28 UAE Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems and Climate Action.

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