Qatar Leads MENA's Agritech Revolution

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) The Peninsula

Doha: Food security is part of a global quest for increased productivity, reduced waste and sustainable production practices. The consequences of climate change, disruptions in supply chains, and changes in land usage and agricultural outputs have deepened the need for innovative techniques and solutions.

Accelerated by private investments and tech development as part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0), Agritech has gained immense momentum. It is expected to reach $54.2bn market size in 2030, growing from $11.1bn 2021.

Countries with rapidly increasing populations such as China, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam are investing heavily in Agritech, and attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) to equip their agricultural and food production sectors and to meet demands for higher crop yields.

The numbers show that global Agritech venture capital investment increased by nearly 46 percent in 2020 and a further 61.4 percent in 2021 to $11.3bn, representing a peak in investment and a major jump from the $600m back in 2012.2 On the growing promise of the Agritech industry, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region witnessed the signing of 33 investment deals in Agritech startups, amounting to $250m in disclosed investments from 2014 to 2020.

A recent Agritech sectoral study by the Investment Promotion Agency Qatar (IPA Qatar) details how the region's rapid investment in technology and digitalisation has driven the industry forward.

Tech-based agricultural practices overhauling the MENA region's agri-food sector investments: 1. IoT connections: Expected to more than double by 2025, with licensed cellular IoT connections expected to reach more than 70m. 2. Water efficiency & reuse technologies: 70 percent of global total usage of tech like hydroponic farming, drip irrigation and desalination plants used in MENA's agriculture sector 3. Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA): 70 percent of fresh vegetables and fruits could be economically grown in the region using CEA 4. Vertical farming: Forecasted to grow rapidly from $1.1bn regional market size in 2021 to $5bn by 2029 Qatar is leading the charge with its National Food Security Strategy that aims for 70 percent self-sufficiency in 2023, on top of significant investments in farming technology and Geographic Information System (GIS), and next-generation AI in agricultural practices.

The State secured first place among all GCC nations on the Global Food Security Index 2021 – an annual ranking of food security in 113 countries across four key pillars: affordability, availability, quality and safety, and sustainability and adaptation.


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