FoA 257: Bringing Ag Innovation to the Desert with HE Dr. Tariq bin Hendi


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While we here in the U.S. have an agricultural system built upon exports, while our guest today lives in Abu Dhabi, part of the United Arab Emirates which currently imports 80% of their food. What we view here as needed viable technology to create a more sustainable agriculture is likely to be different there.

We have on the show His Excellency Dr. Tariq Bin Hendi. Dr. Tariq is the Director General of the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO). He leads the organisation’s efforts to grow and diversify Abu Dhabi’s economy through private sector investment. He also oversees strategic initiatives that support the emirate’s economic growth and reputation on the world stage.

One of those initiatives was to entice leading agtech companies from around the world to establish new R&D and production facilities in the emirate. In 2020, ADIO announced partnerships with AeroFarms, Madar Farms, RNZ and Responsive Drip Irrigation to bring innovation to the area to turn sand into farmland, solve complex global agriculture challenges and expand the profile of local food producers. ADIO is investing $100 million in those four companies to build facilities in Abu Dhabi, each tasked with solving regional and global challenges.

They are also partnering with three AgTech companies, US-based Nanoracks, India’s FreshToHome and Pure Harvest to develop ‘land, sea & space’ AgTech projects in Abu Dhabi, offering $41.3m in incentives to the innovative companies to develop next generation agriculture solutions to support food production in arid and desert climates.

In this episode, we talk about these initiatives from a high level, and how Dr. Tariq is looking at bringing ag innovation into the region to create a more food secure environment. His Excellency holds a PhD in Economics from the Imperial College London, and graduate degrees from Columbia University and London Business School.

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