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Horti Agri Next MEA 2023:

UAE: Heat and labor shortage drive innovation in the Middle East

If you're interested, you could dedicate several weeks to exploring the plethora of Middle Eastern horticultural trade shows that have emerged over recent years. A new addition to this list is the inaugural Horti Agri Next MEA 2023, which kicked off today at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), coinciding with VIV MEA. While not the largest in terms of exhibitors, with a dozen horticultural companies present at this first edition, this exhibition aims to distinguish itself by spotlighting innovations, technologies, and agricultural trends, with a specific focus on tackling challenges unique to the Middle East and Africa region.

Among the primary challenges underscored at the event is the harsh climate, characterized by extreme heat, posing a significant obstacle to agricultural practices. Additionally, the labor-intensive nature of traditional farming methods is a boost to the modernization of around 30,000 plastic greenhouses in the region. Despite abundant water and land resources, the shift to more sustainable and efficient practices is impeded by a lack of subsidies, relying solely on motivation and belief.

Interestingly, the hospitality and aviation sectors in Abu Dhabi have swiftly embraced innovation, leading experts to predict that horticulture is poised to become the next frontier for technological advancements and sustainable practices in the region.

The Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) has expressed openness to partnerships aimed at elevating the profile of horticulture in the region, signifying a commitment to supporting initiatives that address existing challenges and propel the industry towards a more sustainable and prosperous future.

As the eagerness of suppliers to participate in this potential growth market demonstrates, many want to be part of this promising industry. However, collaborations need to take shape, as a lack of knowledge and guidance within the local agricultural community is evident. Mere infrastructure construction is insufficient; knowledge transfer and partnerships are crucial for the successful development of the sector. Despite cheap energy prices ranging from 7 to 11 cents, questions linger about the amount of additional light needed in these regions.

For more information:
Lida Kokkini, Senior Marketing Manager
VNU Europe
[email protected]