The United Arab Emirates on Thursday announced an investment of USD 2 billion to develop a series of integrated food parks across India as part of efforts by the four-nation grouping I2U2 (India-Israel-UAE-USA) to help tackle food insecurity in South Asia and the Middle East.
The decision was announced following the virtual summit held by the leaders of the grouping — Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Joe Biden, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The I2U2 leaders, in a joint statement, said New Delhi will provide appropriate land and facilitate farmers’ integration into the food parks.
The grouping focused on food security crisis and clean energy during their meeting and discussed innovative ways to ensure longer-term, more diversified food production and food delivery systems that can better manage global food shocks.
Highlighting the initiatives with regard to food security, the I2U2 leaders said the UAE – home to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and host of COP28 in 2023 – will invest $2 billion USD to develop a series of integrated food parks across India that will incorporate state-of-the-art climate-smart technologies to reduce food waste and spoilage, conserve fresh water, and employ renewable energy sources.
“The U.S. and Israeli private sectors will be invited to lend their expertise and offer innovative solutions that contribute to the overall sustainability of the project. These investments will help maximize crop yields and, in turn, help tackle food insecurity in South Asia and the Middle East,” the group said in the statement.
The I2U2 group will also advance a hybrid renewable energy project in Gujarat consisting of 300 megawatts (MW) of wind and solar capacity, complemented by a battery energy storage system, the joint statement said.
“The U.S. Trade and Development Agency funded a feasibility study for the $330 million USD project. UAE-based companies are exploring opportunities to serve as critical knowledge and investment partners. Israel and the United States intend to work with the UAE and India to highlight private sector opportunities. Indian companies are keen to participate in this project and contribute to India’s goal of achieving 500 GW of non-fossil fuel capacity by 2030. Such projects have the potential to make India a global hub for alternate supply chains in the renewable energy sector,” the joint statement added.
The I2U2 leaders expressed their determination to leverage well-established markets to build more innovative, inclusive, and science-based solutions to enhance food security and sustainable food systems.
“The leaders also welcomed India’s interest in joining the United States, the UAE, and Israel in the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate initiative (AIM for Climate). They affirmed that these are only the first steps in a long-term strategic partnership to promote initiatives and investments that improve the movement of people and goods across hemispheres, and increase sustainability and resilience through collaborative science and technology partnerships,” the joint statement said.
The joint statement further said this unique grouping of countries aims to “harness the vibrancy of our societies and entrepreneurial spirit to tackle some of the greatest challenges confronting our world, with a particular focus on joint investments and new initiatives in water, energy, transportation, space, health, and food security”.
“We intend to mobilize private sector capital and expertise to modernize infrastructure, advance low carbon development pathways for our industries, improve public health and access to vaccines, advance physical connectivity between countries in the Middle East region, jointly create new solutions for waste treatment, explore joint financing opportunities, connect our startups to I2U2 investments, and promote the development of critical emerging and green technologies, all while ensuring near- and long-term food and energy security,” the joint statement added.
The I2U2 leaders reaffirmed their “support for the Abraham Accords and other peace and normalization arrangements with Israel”.
“We welcome the economic opportunities that flow from these historic developments, including for the advancement of economic cooperation in the Middle East and South Asia, and in particular for the promotion of sustainable investment amongst the I2U2 partners,” the joint statement said.