AGWA (AgriFood Growth and Water Abundance) and Believer Meats announced their collaboration to develop capabilities in cultivated meat, including an opportunity for the company to establish a presence in Abu Dhabi, aiming to leverage the emirate's strategic location and resources to further its growth in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region.

Believer Meats will pursue establishing a regional headquarters in Abu Dhabi that can support commercial operations for regional market expansion, product manufacturing, and research and development. AGWA aims to capitalise on technological advancements to address shifting dietary patterns and support global food security for a reliable and resilient supply chain. The cluster will lead the sector, driving advancements in areas like alternative proteins, functional ingredients, algae farming, and reverse osmosis membranes, while enhancing traditional food and water production and supply.

AGWA and Believer Meats will also explore establishing a Believer Meats Innovation Academy dedicated to sustainable food technologies and developing future talent in collaboration with Abu Dhabi-based universities and research centres. AGWA will also work with Believer Meats to establish a regulatory pathway and halal certification standards for cultivated meat products in Abu Dhabi.

Badr Al-Olama, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), said: “When Abu Dhabi established AGWA, it sought to attract the greatest innovators in food and water. Our partnership with Believer Meats is a firm example of this objective coming to life. A base of operations in Abu Dhabi would enable Believer Meats to bring the very best innovations and products in cultivated meats to the entire region with speed and safety, radically changing the dependency on imported food to the region.”

Gustavo Burger, CEO of Believer Meats, said: “Partnering with AGWA represents a significant step forward in our mission to create a global powerhouse of cultivated meat solutions bringing products to new strategic markets. This collaboration will not only enable us to expand our operations, but also aligns perfectly with our vision of creating a sustainable and more resilient global food system. By leveraging AGWA’s innovative framework and support, we are confident that we can address food security challenges and bring our safe, healthy, and delicious cultivated meat products to the MENA region and beyond.”

Led by the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) and Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), AGWA is set to become a global hub for novel food and ingredients, as well as technologies that increase access to and enable the efficient utilisation of water resources. The cluster is designed to support local suppliers and exporters, serving as a platform to maximise commercial opportunities. The cluster aims to meet increasing global demand, alleviate pressures on agricultural systems, address shifting dietary patterns, capitalise on technological advancements, and support global food security, ensuring a reliable and resilient supply chain.

By 2045, AGWA is expected to contribute AED90 billion in incremental GDP to Abu Dhabi’s economy, create more than 60,000 new jobs, and attract AED128 billion in investments.