Coronavirus: UAE’s Mohammed bin Zayed calls for end of ‘culture of excess’

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Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, called on Wednesday for reining in the “culture of excess” to support food security in the country amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Food security is a holistic ecosystem that pertains not only to food production, but also addresses the culture of handling food or the culture of rationalism and avoiding overuse and waste,” Sheikh Mohamed said during a video conference at the Ramadan Majlis discussion titled “Nourishing the Nation: Food Security in the UAE.”

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"We have a habit of excess which we need to restrain. We need to tighten the belt slightly. If this excess or overspending is for a good cause, like charity, it is good and we support it, but overspending for no reason is bad.”

"This is a key part of the food security strategy: how to think of our various natural resources such as water, food sources, energy and others,” Sheikh Mohammed added.

The coronavirus crisis has raised fears across the globe about a possible shortage of supplies amid lockdowns, curfews and limits imposed on operations which disrupted economic activities.

He stressed that despite the challenges the world faces right now due to the coronavirus pandemic, the UAE’s food supply chain under these conditions “didn’t and will not be affected,” whether in terms of local production or strategic reserves or imports from abroad.

“We assure everyone that the process of supplying food in the UAE is sustainable and food security is a top priority for the country,” he added.

Read more: Coronavirus: A second wave is likely coming, but how bad will it be?

The Crown Prince echoed statements he made on March 16, when he said: “I'd like to reassure every citizen and resident of the UAE that our country is infinitely able to supply everyone with all the food and medicine they could ever need. We are well prepared to face any challenge that arises.”

The video conference also featured Minister of State for Food Security, Mariam al-Mheiri, who explained the measures the government took at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak to ensure food security in the country.

She also encouraged people to “buy locally,” and reassured the public that the UAE now has 38 initiatives and programs to ensure food security in the country “not just today, but also during crises and in the future.”

Al-Mheiri said that the government supported the food sector by providing aircrafts amid flight disruptions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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