All times below are in Gulf Standard Time (GST).

Monday, December 4

Opening Remarks
Opening Ministerial Address: Future Strategies to Increase Domestic Food Production with Low Water Use and CO2 Emissions

H.E. Eng. Mohammed Mousa Alameeri, Assistant Undersecretary for the Food Diversity Sector, MINISTRY OF CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENVIRONMENT, UAE

Keynote Panel // The Path to Food Security: Navigating a Food Systems Approach to Long-Term Nutrition Security
  • How have recent global events created urgency around food security in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia? What are the key priorities for today’s policy-makers?
  • To what extent can technology play a role in increasing domestic agricultural production in a move towards regional self-reliance? What success stories can we see?
  • How can the region move from a linear food system to a more circular approach? How can this strategy build greater resilience to environmental shocks?
  • How can we foster multi-stakeholder partnerships within the sector to develop solutions at scale? Where is the potential for cross-border, multi-agency collaboration?
  • In what ways can we safeguard the food system to promote an equitable and nutritious food structure for all, across the population?

Roger Rabbat, Partner, STRATEGY& MIDDLE EAST

Dr Shamal Mohammed, Head of Agri-Tech, Innovation Oasis, SILAL
Martien Van Nieuwkoop, Global Director, Agriculture and Food Global Practice, WORLD BANK GROUP
Hugo Hagen, Senior Representative, Middle East, BAYER
Dina Saleh, Regional Director, Near East, North Africa, Europe and Central Asia (NEN), IFAD

Networking Coffee Break
Transforming Smallholder Agriculture: Digital Solutions to Boost Productivity and Sustainability
  • In what ways can digital solutions help smallholder farmers in the MEASA region modernise and commercialise their farming practices?
  • How can soil sensors, field monitoring solutions and satellites enable farmers in climate-stressed environments to minimise inputs and farm in a more efficient, climate-smart way?
  • What are the key challenges faced by smallholder farmers in adopting and implementing digital solutions in their farming practices?
  • How can these solutions be adapted to meet the needs of farmers in the MEASA region, and what business models are needed to drive adoption?
  • What are some successful case studies or pilots that have demonstrated the effectiveness of digital solutions in improving livelihoods for smallholder farmers in the MEASA region?
  • Taking a boots-on-the-ground approach, how can we support small holder farmers to embed AI and ML in their farming practices?

Adebimpe Daniells, Senior AI/ML Solutions Architect, AMAZON WEB SERVICES

Faissal Sehbaoui, Managing Director, AGRIEDGE
Vineet Singh, Chief Technology Officer, DIGITAL GREEN
Anita Asabere, Head of Commercial & Partnerships, FARMERLINE
Nikhil Toshniwal, VP, DEHAAT

Cultivating Change: Regenerative Agriculture and the Power of Soil Health
  • What technologies are being developed that can restore and regenerate desert soils to create the right conditions for agriculture?
  • In what ways can multi-cropping practices aid natural pest control and increase yields? What other farming practices can help traditional farmers become more productive and sustainable?
  • What are the constraints to liquid nanoclay to turn desert into fertile lands and how can we look to overcome these?
  • What new innovations are emerging in biological crop inputs, and how can these be adapted for use in desert soils?
  • How can we promote the use of alternative sources of organic matter such as city waste or biochar as a soil conditioner and soil health enhancer?
  • How can we ensure these innovations and technologies are made readily available and affordable? How can we incentivise farmers to make the transition to regenerative practices?

Dr. Augusto Becerra Lopez-Lavalle, Chief Scientist, ICBA

Raza Soomar, CEO and Founder, RNZ GROUP
Victoria Pace, VP Yara AgTech, YARA
Payam Pourtaheri, Founder & CEO, AGROSPHERES

Trends and Investment Opportunities in Climate Adaptation for Food & Agriculture

Louisa Burwood-Taylor, Managing Editor & Head of Media & Research, AGFUNDER

Networking Lunch Break
Unlocking the Full Potential of CEA within the Complex Water-Energy-Food Nexus
  • The challenge of food security is closely linked to the water and energy crises – how can we encourage a 360° view to develop policies that address this relationship?
  • In what ways can greenhouse production be customised for desert environments to minimise the carbon and water footprint of indoor growing?
  • How can we reduce the energy consumption of high-tech vertical farms? Is solar energy the correct solution? What other technologies are emerging?
  • How can solutions such as desalination and water recycling look to alleviate the pressure on groundwater resources from cooling systems? What are the barriers in implementing these solutions at scale?
  • How can we ensure future CEA concepts in the Middle East are saltwater driven to minimise freshwater demands?
  • What combination of specialist seeds, low-power lighting, climate controls, cooling systems and automation can achieve the productivity and efficiency needed to be profitable?
  • What governmental initiatives and incentives are needed to relieve the rising costs and improve the commercial viability of CEA in the Middle East?

Henry Gordon-Smith, Founder & CEO, AGRITECTURE

Sky Kurtz, Founder & CEO, PURE HARVEST
Alexei Levene, Co-Founder & Chief Commercial Officer, DESOLENATOR
Khadija Hasan, Founder, KRISPR
Feras Al Soufi, General Manager, BUSTANICA, EMIRATES CROP ONE
Ryan Lefers, CEO & Co Founder, REDSEA

Agrofinance and Agri-Fintech: Funding Sustainable Rural Growth
  • How can digital platforms enable smallholder farmers to access the financial services they need to support the adoption of new technologies and modern farming practices?
  • How is agri-fintech bridging the gap between small holder farmers and access to supply chain financing? How can agri-fintech create a more connected and transparent value chain?
  • By what means can we look to improve the quality and quantity of agricultural loans and investments?
  • How can innovative financial solutions help farmers become more competitive, and improve the standard of their produce to better compete with imports?
  • Women contribute to the largest majority of the agricultural workforce, but remain consistently underbanked. How can we ensure that agrofinance is fostering new opportunities for female farmers?

Natalia Zhukova, Director, Head of Agribusiness, EBRD

Eli Pollak, Founder and CEO, APOLLO AGRICULTURE
Rose Goslinga, President and Co-Founder, PULA

Networking Coffee Break
Presentation // The Agri-Tech Revolution: The Case of India

Mohit Pande, Chief Business Officer, CROPIN

Start-Up Showcase

Hosted by:

Early-stage agri-tech entrepreneurs from the MEASA region present 5-minute snapshots of their solutions.

Ashish Khetan, President & CIO, INDIGRAM LABS FOUNDATION
Dr. Aftab Alam, Lead Scientist, Farming, INNOVATION OASIS

Presenting Companies:
Priscilla Wakarera, CEO & Co Founder, RHEA SOIL HEALTH, KENYA
Dr.-Ing. Imen Hbiri, CTO & Co Founder, ROBOCARE, TUNISIA
Hasan Jaafar, COO & Co Founder, YY REGEN, LEBANON
Anoop Srikantaswamy, Founder & CEO, MOONRIDER, INDIA

Investor Panel // The Outlook for VC funding for Agri-Tech in 2024
  • How do today’s leading VC funds and accelerators view the agri-tech opportunity in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia?
  • What kind of start-ups are currently attracting most interest from investors, and why?
  • What is the role of investors and accelerators in attracting international start-ups into emerging markets, and what success stories are we seeing?
  • How can we ensure that start-ups get the building blocks they need to scale up and roll out their solutions to farmers?

Mark Kahn, Managing Partner, OMNIVORE

Shirley Shahar, Co-Founder, DANA VENTURE BUILDER
Simon Sharp, Partner, GLOBAL VENTURES
Sherief Kesseba, Managing Partner, CLIMATE RESILIENT AFRICA FUND
Ritu Verma, Managing Partner, ANKUR CAPITAL
Erich Sieber,
Founding General Partner, PEAKBRIDGE VC

Closing Remarks and Networking Reception

Hosted by:

Tuesday, December 5

Keynote Address // Building a Prosperous Agri-Food System Amid a Climate Changing World

Zitouni Ould-Dada, Deputy Director, Climate and Environment Division, FAO

Keynote Panel // Building a Robust Ecosystem for Agri-Tech in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia
  • What are the building blocks of a successful agri-tech ecosystem? Where has this been done successfully around the world and what lessons have been learned?
  • What is being done in different countries across the Middle East, South Asia and Africa, and how can we foster greater cross-regional knowledge-exchange and collaboration?
  • How can the UAE establish itself as a global centre of excellence in agri-tech for desert climates? How can we engage key stakeholders from government, private sector, research institutes, entrepreneurs and investors to support this?
  • What is the role of new economic zones and agri-tech hubs in attracting international companies to the region, and facilitating pilot projects and technology validation?
  • How can we ensure that investment in talent, training and capacity building keeps up with the pace of investment in tech?
  • By inspiring the next generation to work in agriculture and continue to develop innovative agri-tech solutions, we are rethinking what it means to be a farmer whilst safeguarding the future of farming. How can we look to accelerate this shift?

Sheikh Majid Al Qassimi, Founding Partner, SOMA MATER

Wassim Beaineh, Manager International Cooperation, MENA, WAGENINGEN UNIVERSITY
Vanessa Adams, Former Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, AGRA
Ian Campbell, VP Innovation & Economic Development, KAUST
Bernhard Kowatsch, Head of the Innovation Accelerator, UN WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME

Technology's Transformative Role in Sustainable Domestic Food Production and Other Use Cases

Carlos Flores Ortiz, Senior Plant Scientist, VERTICAL FUTURE

Roundtable Discussions
  • Addressing Funding Imbalances for Female Ag-Tech Founders in the Middle East
    Host: Shirley Shahar, Co-Founder, DANA GLOBAL
  • Smart Crop Protection: Increasing Yields & Minimising Chemical Inputs
    Host: Julian Smith, Director Science, ROTHAMSTED RESEARCH
  • Mitigating Consequences: EUDR to Foster Farmer Centric Regulations
    Host: Marvin Nii Adom Armah, Senior Account Manager, FARMERLINE
  • Farmgate to Plate: UAE Initiatives to Reduce Post-Harvest Food Loss Waste
    Host: Ali Mahm’d Ahmad AlShrouf, Research & Development, ADAFSA
  • Novel to Mainstream: Alt-Proteins for Food Security in MEASA
    Host: Bruce Friedrich, Founder and President, THE GOOD FOOD INSTITUTE
  • Harnessing Agricultural Data for Enhanced Food Production
    Host: Eng. Hassan Halawy, General Manager, ELITE AGRO
  • AgTech for Climate Change Mitigation: Accelerating R&D in the Middle East
    Host: David Babson, Executive Director, MIT CLIMATE GRAND CHALLENGES
  • The Future of Indoor Ag: Diversifying Crop Production in Climate Stressed Regions
    Host: Jen Bromley, Chief Scientific Officer, VERTICAL FUTURE
  • High-Tech Glasshouses: The Solution for Optimal Agronomical Performance?
    Host: Anne Williams, Head of Protected, Bayer Vegetable Seeds, BAYER
  • Feeding the Next (few) Billion: Increasing Access to Investment in Emerging Ag Ecosystems
    Host: Aziza Inoubli, Regional Manager, BRITER BRIDGES
  • Startup to Unicorn: Accelerating Growth Access for the Ag Sector
    Host: Marina Nitsa Viergutz, Partner, ARIELI CAPITAL
Networking Coffee Break
Presentation // The Dawn of African Agri-Tech Innovation

Sherief Kesseba, Managing Partner, CLIMATE RESILIENT AFRICA FUND

Start-Up Showcase

Hosted by:

Early-stage agri-tech entrepreneurs from the MEASA region present 5-minute snapshots of their solutions.

Sidee Dlamini, Director of Talent & Partnerships, DELTA40 VENTURE STUDIO
Dr. Aftab Alam, Lead Scientist, Farming, INNOVATION OASIS

Presenting Companies:
Maryanne Gichanga, CEO & Co Founder, AGRITECH ANALYTICS, KENYA
Cherotich Rutto, CEO & Co Founder, TAWI FRESH, KENYA
Youssef Mamou, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, YOLA FRESH, MOROCCO

Climate-Resilient Crops: Unleashing the Potential of Seed Breeding for Arid and Desert Environments
  • Where are the most exciting areas for research and innovation in crop biotechnology for desert environments?
  • How are advances in gene editing tackling salinity stress in plants, and which halophytic crops offer the greatest potential for large-scale cultivation? How can we look to improve cultivation of wheat varieties with increased salinity tolerance?
  • What crops can/should be grown at scale in the Middle East, in a way that is both economically viable and environmentally sustainable?
  • How can we increase production of salt, heat and drought-tolerant crops such as quinoa, salicornia, sesbania and safflower by farmers in marginal environments?
  • How can we strengthen and scale the technological advancements that are expected to fuel the growth of the desert farming market?
  • With global heating extending desertification around the world, how great is the potential for the GCC region to become a global centre for desert farming solutions, and what governmental initiatives are needed to support this?

Mark Tester, Professor, Plant Science Associate Director, Centre for Desert Agriculture, KAUST

Aly Abousabaa, Director General, ICARDA and Regional Director, Central and West Asia and North Africa, CGIAR
Dr. Augusto Becerra Lopez-Lavalle, Chief Scientist, ICBA
Khalid Mahmood, Head Agri-Tech & ESG, MENA, ROTHAMSTED RESEARCH
Gretchen Weightman, Senior Vice President Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa (AMEA), ILLUMINA

Networking Lunch
Connecting Farmers to Markets: Revolutionising Agricultural Supply Chains in the Middle East
  • How can stronger connections between farmers and restaurants/retailers support more resilient business models for farmers, and security of supply for buyers?
  • What B2B platforms are emerging to facilitate this? How can online marketplaces help farmers to reduce market risk, get better value for their produce and compete with imports?
  • What do farmers need to ensure they can produce and distribute a consistent volume and quality of produce that meets the needs of leading restaurants and retailers?
  • In what ways can online marketplaces disrupt traditional agricultural supply chains, enabling more efficient and transparent distribution of agricultural products in the Middle East?
  • What are some successful examples of innovative supply chain technologies being implemented in the region, and what lessons can be learned from these experiences?

Ahmad Bakri, Partner, MCKINSEY & COMPANY

Kenneth D’Costa, Managing Director, BARAKAT GROUP
Tom Harvey, General Manager, Commercial, SPINNEYS
Omar Shihab, Founder, Chief Sustainability Officer, BOCA
Omar Mohammed Hamdan AlShamsi, CEO, WATERMELON MARKET

Case Study: How Can Blockchain Enhance Traceability and Transparency in the Agricultural Supply Chains in the MENA Region?

Hussein Al Hussein, Regional Manager, MENA, FARM TO PLATE

EBRD AgVenture Winners

Nemanja Grgic, Technical Cooperation Manager, Agribusiness, EBRD
Jelena Erker, Associate Director, Agribusiness, EBRD

Amira Cheniour, CEO, SEABEX
Kerem Erikci, CEO & Co-Founder, BIFTEK
Donat Posta, CEO & Co-Founder, SMAPP LAB
Iheb Triki, CEO and Founder, KUMULUS

Investor Panel // Fuelling Agricultural Innovation: Accessing Growth Finance Opportunities for Agri-Tech
  • How can the Middle East capitalise on its strength in financing to become a centre of growth finance for agri-tech companies and projects around the world?
  • What is the role of Sovereign Wealth Funds and Family Offices in attracting international agri-tech businesses into the region, and how can they support them as they scale up?
  • What types of technologies and business models within the agri-tech sector do investors find most compelling? What are the key criteria when considering an investment?
  • How can we ensure that investment is targeted at projects and solutions that are technology-driven, environmentally sustainable, and impactful?
  • Where are the successful case studies where investors have made a positive impact on agricultural practices and rural communities?

Louisa Burwood-Taylor, Managing Editor & Head of Media & Research, AGFUNDER

Mohamed Al Hosani, Director of Domestic Direct Investment, ADIO
Mohammad Nasr, Chief Investment Officer, SAVOLA
Ryan Rakestraw, Director, TEMASEK
Amer Fatayer, Managing Director, DUBAI FUTURE DISTRICT FUND

End of Summit