UAE’s Emirates Development Bank (EDB) has approved more than Dhs721m in funding for food security projects since the launch of its new strategy in April 2021.
The development lender has allocated Dhs30bn to support 13,500 small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in five priority sectors – manufacturing, renewables, technology, healthcare, and food security.
“It is important that we support investments in agriculture and innovation to boost national food security. Enabling the UAE’s agritech and food production capabilities provides tremendous opportunities for stakeholders across the value chain from farmers to small and large food and tech producers,” said Ahmed Mohamed Al Naqbi, CEO of Emirates Development Bank.
Al Naqbi said EDB is uniquely positioned to drive investment in agribusiness through flexible finance solutions.
Food security is one of the five priority sectors that the development bank supports to contribute to the country’s national development and economic diversification plans.
The bank has a dedicated AgriTech Loans Program to provide significant financial support to enable local food production and drive food security.
The programme avails much-needed capital into the agritech sector and provides favourable, long-term loans of as much as Dhs5m to local producers, farmers, agribusinesses, and food-related projects. The bank recently allocated Dhs100m to support the bespoke programme.
EDB creates an enabling environment
EDB’s support for agritech and food security is guided by its approach to driving economic impact and enabling the growth of sectors of strategic importance to the country’s national development.
The development lender’s financing solutions and agritech loans align with the UAE’s strategy to create sustainable food systems while committing to climate finance.
The UAE launched the COP28 Food and Agriculture Agenda ahead of the climate change conference later this year to ensure that the world has a dedicated platform to discuss food security issues and the financing of food system innovations.
EDB is working in partnership with several entities and home-grown initiatives that are tackling climate change and promoting agritech and sustainable farming innovations.
These include the Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Climate Change and Environment and Dubai’s Food Tech Valley.
The bank offers a patient debt approach with an emphasis on developmental impact. Its direct and indirect financing is offered with long tenors, higher loan-to-value ratios, lower rates and interest grace periods.