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Estonia and the UAE are collaborating to strengthen food management

Estonia and the United Arab Emirates have increased cooperation in the food sector in recent years. This is further indicated by the fact that the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding in February to strengthen joint efforts in managing food resources and implementing technology-driven solutions. 

The MoU was signed by Dr Amna bint Abdullah Al Dahak Al Shamsi, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment of UAE, and Madis Kallas, Minister of Regional Affairs and Agriculture, who also represented the Ministry of Climate of the Republic of Estonia. The MoU marks a significant milestone in the collaborative efforts to strengthen food security and positively contribute to the economies of both countries.

“In the UAE, we aim to deepen partnerships with nations on shared issues, particularly food, which is our top priority. This commitment drives us to adopt cutting-edge technologies, efficiently manage resources to align with our goal of reducing carbon emissions, and promote a new economy that facilitates a sustainable future,” said Dr Al Dahak.

Strengthening global food security is essential

“We believe that working together is crucial for finding effective solutions,” she added. “By collaborating with Estonia and other countries, we aim to develop innovative solutions to strengthen global food security. Sharing knowledge and technology is vital for this endeavour and can positively impact the future of the UAE and the world.”

The MoU seeks to promote sustainable food systems by reducing waste, promoting digital solutions in agriculture to manage natural resources sustainably, addressing environmental and climate challenges, and leveraging advanced technology for increased productivity. Additionally, it addresses food safety and improving crisis management and disaster response capabilities.

The collaboration includes research and development initiatives to strengthen food security, along with the exchange of technical knowledge on trading conditions, restrictions, and procedures. It will also focus on implementing research and initiatives in smart, sustainable cities, and nature-based solutions, aiming to reduce energy usage and provide a high quality of life within an effective and environmentally smart ecosystem. The cooperation extends to implementing human resources capacity development programs.

Source for pure food

Taste Estonia, the official initiative to promote the Estonian food and food industry globally, managed by Enterprise Estonia, expanded the presence of Estonian food produce in the UAE market already in 2021. The aim was to bring over 20 brands, ranging from wild berries to chocolates, to the UAE market. This move introduced innovative solutions, healthier organic food and sustainability.

Pure food comes from a clean environment. According to the World Health Organisation, Estonia is ranked second in air quality. Based on data from more than 30,000 monitoring stations globally, the 2024 report showed that only seven countries – Australia, Estonia, Finland, Grenada, Iceland, Mauritius and New Zealand – meet the World Health Organization’s guidelines of five micrograms of fine particulate matter per cubic metre of air. With 4.7 micrograms, Estonia ranks second in Europe behind Iceland and before Finland.

Over half of Estonia´s territory is covered with forests, of which 45 per cent are organic collection areas. The clean resources available in Estonia due to favourable climatic conditions have allowed it to become Europe’s second-largest organic farming country. Estonian food is rated the second cleanest in the world by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.

As consumer habits are changing worldwide, Estonian food processors quickly react to these adjustments thanks to their relatively small size and innovative approach to scientific advancements. The global trend is increasingly moving towards healthier food that provides consumers extra benefits, such as more protein. This is one area where Estonians truly stand out for their innovation and product development.


  • Estonia’s major trading partners are Finland, Sweden, Germany, Russia, and Latvia. The United Arab Emirates is Estonia’s 38th largest export partner.
  • In 2023, bilateral trade between the UAE and Estonia increased by 76.2 per cent, reaching a total value of $176.3 million compared to $100.1 million in 2022.
  • Most recently, exports were led by communication equipment, representing 25.5% of the total exports to the United Arab Emirates, followed by turbojets, turbo propellers and other gas turbines, which account for 9.37%. Food and beverages were exported to the UAE in 2023 approx. for 3.19 million euros.


  • 51% of Estonia´s territory is covered with forest. 45% of Estonian forests are a potential organic harvesting area.
  • 22% of Estonian farmland is organic.
  • Estonia is a place where more than 76 species of plants can be found growing in a given square metre. Although its land area of 45,339 km² makes Estonia slightly smaller than the average European country, it has one of the lowest population densities – there’s 3.51 hectares of land per inhabitant.
  • The forests, fields and sea have kept Estonians well-fed throughout history. The four distinct seasons provide a variety of seasonal ingredients and food preparation methods.
    Source: Statistics Estonia; Organic Estonia 

This article was also published in Arabian Business.

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