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The future of food is the future of humanity

The future of food is the future of humanity
  • The future will depend, to a large extent, on how we produce, process and consume food. Dr Juan Carlos Motamayor said: “The future of food is the future of humanity”

27.06.2023 – ENGLISH
Among the companies present at the last edition of GreenTech Amsterdam, which took place at RAI Amsterdam from 13-15 June, several companies from the world of agriculture showcased their innovative solutions and large-scale projects for healthy and sustainable global food. Among them was NEOM Food, an international community of innovators, entrepreneurs and scientists trying to anticipate the food challenges of the future by tackling the problems today.

The current challenges posed by climate change:

  • The global food system is a major contributor to climate change, as is the fossil fuel industry.
  • Agricultural practices are depleting soil and freshwater resources.
  • The overuse of fertilisers is creating dead zones in our oceans, rivers and lakes. Ninety per cent of our fisheries are at risk or already affected.
  • Production is focused on a few commodity producing countries that are failing due to climate change.

Juan Carlos Motamayor. Executive Director, Food Sector

“According to Dr. Motamayor, “most modern agricultural practices were developed at a time when climate change was not the reality it is today. Now, the agricultural model is making climate change worse and climate change, in turn, is making our current model of food production unsustainable. It is a vicious circle that we urgently need to break. We must produce more with less. Less land. Less water. Especially in arid conditions like in the Middle East”.

“We can no longer afford to put all our eggs in one basket. Or even in a few baskets of bread, i.e. relying on a few regions of the world to export most of the calories consumed worldwide. More importantly, we have to learn how to produce food in the face of the challenges posed by climate change.

What does NEOM Food do?

“NEOM is a region in the northwest of Saudi Arabia. We face an extreme climate for food production, the same climate that, due to climate change, more and more countries will face in the near future.”

“At NEOM Food, we are a fast-growing international community of innovators, entrepreneurs and scientists who are developing, testing and commercialising new ideas and new technologies to develop forward-thinking industries that address the key challenges facing humanity today.”
“We are fortunate that our region is a living laboratory and test bed, where we have the freedom to try new approaches to living and working, including all aspects of the food chain, from production to consumption.”

“Our main objective in the food sector, one of the fourteen sectors being developed in NEOM, is to learn how to grow efficiently in desert conditions, using production systems best adapted to extreme heat and water scarcity.”

“We are currently piloting large-scale technology projects to test various combinations of technology that lead to food self-sufficiency and mitigate climate change by reducing food miles.”

Image of the modern NEOM stand at GreenTech 2023.

“In fact, reducing the carbon footprint could be achieved by decentralising food production. Climate change projections indicate that even if we were to completely stop using fossil fuels now, without addressing emissions from the food industry, we would still miss the maximum warming target of 1.5°C by the end of the century. In addition, food transport is a significant contributor to emissions generated by the food industry”.

“A crucial aspect we are addressing is the efficient use of water. Due to overexploitation of resources and climate change, the gap between global water supply and demand is expected to reach 40% by 2030.”
“Our commitment to nature conservation at NEOM makes us EXCLUDE the use of natural aquifers, instead, we are developing agriculture based on desalinated water, which, of course, implies additional production costs.”

“The challenges we face are enormous, but not insurmountable. With creativity, collaboration and commitment, we can develop the solutions we need to grow crops in extreme heat and water scarcity, to adapt to and mitigate climate change, and to create a more sustainable and equitable world. The future of our planet, and all life on it, depends on our actions today. Let us rise to this challenge. Together, let’s grow the agricultural system of tomorrow”.

Read more about NEOM Food HERE.




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