The agriculture sector just isn’t predominant in UAE because of its geographical location. Furthermore, the nation is characterised by little or no rainfall, extraordinarily excessive temperatures, poor high quality of soil, much less arable land, and unavailability of passable pure waterways, all of which justify the non-prevalence of the agricultural sector. The Authorities is taking varied measures to enhance the meals safety for its folks.
Agriculture sector evaluation of the United Arab Emirates
The agricultural produce of the United Arab Emirates
The entire arable land in UAE is just roughly 1600 sq. kilometers, out of the entire land space of round 71,023 sq. kilometers. The vast majority of the land within the UAE is utilized for the manufacturing of dates. The nation is among the many prime ten dates producer on the planet and contributes to round 6% of the world’s date manufacturing (the weather conditions of UAE help the manufacturing of dates in giant portions).
The opposite crops grown in UAE are tomatoes, cabbage, bougainvillea, tropical hibiscus, eggplant, mangoes, citrus fruits, and so forth. The important thing areas the place plantation actions are carried out are Ras-Al-Khaimah emirate, coastal areas of Fujairah emirate, Al Ain and Liwa Oasis, and Abu Dhabi emirate.
The nation relies upon closely on the imports of products
Roughly 80% of meals within the UAE is imported from different international locations. In 2020, UAE imported roughly $11.8 billion price of edible merchandise. The commodities that are majorly imported by UAE are rice, nuts, wheat, together with quite a few different merchandise. Some key international locations that present agricultural merchandise to the UAE are India, america, Canada, China, Saudi Arabia, and so forth.
Export of the agricultural commodities
In 2020, UAE exported roughly $10.6 billion price of agricultural merchandise, of which uncooked tobacco, uncooked sugar, nuts, candies, and dried legumes kind the numerous a part of whole agricultural exports. In 2020 the foremost international locations to which the UAE exports agricultural merchandise had been Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Oman, Somalia, and Iran.
Challenges within the Agriculture Sector of the UAE
As a result of nation’s geographic location, greater than one-third of the land is roofed with sand. Deserts, together with it, convey plentiful components that detriment to the agriculture sector’s progress and sustainability.
Challenges associated to soil
Low high quality of soil
good high quality soil is crucial for agriculture. There are round 13 styles of soil discovered throughout the nation’s seven emirates; nonetheless, the soil high quality could be very low in comparison with different nations. As a consequence of heavy winds within the nation, the soil will get simply transferred from one area to a different, due to which nobody soil will be particular to a specific area.
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For example, the winds blowing from the coast, generally carry with them White Calcareous Sand, which ends up in white soil being present in quite a few areas of the nation. Equally, iron-rich purple sand will get deposited as purple soil. Gray soil can be discovered within the nation, shaped by igneous rock. The degraded materials of the ocean additionally kinds soil which is cream-colored calcareous/sea-shell wealthy soil.
A novel class of soil discovered within the United Arab Emirates
A brand new class of soil was discovered within the Al Dabaya area of Abu Dhabi. This soil discovered within the nation’s coastal areas is unique to the nation and is wealthy in anhydrite (CaSO4). The soil kind was integrated within the yr 2014 within the 12th addition of US Keys to Soil Taxonomy.
Challenges associated to the supply of pure water
Non-availability of water for irrigation poses a extreme risk to agriculture
The non-availability of ample water for rising crops has all the time been a subject of debate within the UAE when contemplating the challenges within the agricultural sector. The nation faces a whole lot of difficulties producing meals with restricted water assets. The provision of water within the area is constantly falling due to the rising inhabitants, leading to elevated water consumption. Because the nation’s economic system is closely depending on tourism for income, a rise within the variety of vacationers straight impacts the consumption and availability of water.
Given the truth that UAE has little or no rainfall, the exhausted groundwater used for farming just isn’t replenished with rainwater. In consequence, in response to a survey, freshwater availability decreased from 238 trillion liters of water to solely 10 trillion liters between 1969 and 2015.
Extraction of contemporary water from the bottom
large quantity of groundwater is drawn out, due to which saltwater intrusion happens. Many crops are very delicate to saline water, because of which their manufacturing is hampered. To search out much less saline water for irrigation, the farmers need to dig deeper wells and use stronger pumps that use a whole lot of vitality. This acts as an enormous price to the farmers and places a giant query on sustainable agriculture.
Use of water that’s handled in water therapy crops
With the intention to fulfill the water demand in agriculture, large-scale farmers use water that has been handled in water therapy crops to scale back the salinity. Nonetheless, such water has a considerable long-term affect on soil high quality and productiveness. The handled water has gigantic quantities of chemical compounds that when used for irrigation contaminates the soil and the whole meals chain. Micropollutants and pathogens can enter the soil and trigger plant ailments.
Use of fallacious strategies of irrigation
A lot of the farmers within the area use the normal irrigation methodology. As a consequence of excessive temperate, half of the water evaporates whereas watering the farms and reduces the quantity of water for irrigation. The fallacious approach of irrigation will increase causes an enormous quantity of wastage of water. Farmers ought to be taught to make use of sub-surface irrigation to scale back water loss by irrigation.
Strategies took by the Authorities to resolve the challenges
Regardless of the varied agricultural challenges confronted by the nation, the sector remains to be exhibiting a rising development since 1971 due to quite a few efforts put in by the Authorities. The late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan gave an immense contribution and put in an enormous quantity of effort to develop the agricultural sector within the nation. The Authorities is since then constantly taken important steps to make sure meals safety for its folks and make the nation extra sustainable. A number of steps taken by the Authorities are:
- Making and adopting varied insurance policies to handle agricultural points.
- Selling and inspiring the farmers to make use of sustainable and climate-smart agriculture or “AgTec”.
- Rising the manufacturing of native meals gadgets that are tailored to excessive and humid situations.
- Offering coaching to farmers relating to the variation of good agricultural practices.
- Offering funds, and so forth.
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Launch of the ‘Nationwide Meals Safety Technique 2051’
The ‘Nationwide Meals Safety Technique 2051’ was launched in November 2018 with the chief intention of- utilizing such agricultural practices which enhance the amount of meals produced sustainably, thereby making certain meals safety for the nation’s folks. The technique consists of 38 each long-term and short-term initiatives. The principle goals of the technique embody:
- Enhancing the native manufacturing of meals
- Coming into into worldwide partnerships with different international locations to diversify sources of meals,
- Making insurance policies that assist to boost the nutritious content material of meals
- Making laws to scale back the quantity of waste
- Making UAE the perfect in “International Meals Safety Index” by 2051, and (vi) creating an all-inclusive nationwide system to allow sustainable meals manufacturing.
Use of Hydroponics in UAE
Hydroponic is a technique of farming the place the soil just isn’t required for rising crops, as a substitute, mineral and nutrient-rich water is used for rising and cultivating crops. This farming methodology is sort of useful for plant growers in UAE as a result of it makes use of much less water in comparison with the normal approach of farming and helps in conserving an enormous quantity of water (round 70% much less water is used for cultivation).
Moreover, by utilizing this methodology, the plant growers in UAE can use crop-specific vitamins since, every crop requires differing kinds and ranges of vitamin. To help using the hydroponic system, the federal government has launched a number of coaching packages and workshops to teach the farmers. UAE additionally has large transportable hydroponic transport containers that are insulated and supply the required atmosphere for rising crops.
Vertical farming is a plant cultivating method the place the totally different crops are grown vertically in stacked layers. Vertical farming is standard amongst UAE farmers for the reason that nation has little or no arable land. A number of companies are concerned in vertical farming exercise they usually present all the required assets required to make vertical farming profitable within the nation.
These companies have higher planting amenities and educated specialists. The UAE authorities can be supporting this farming method and constantly offering large funds for its progress. The biggest indoor vertical farm is positioned in Abu Dhabi, which proves the help of the UAE Authorities. Vertical farming has quite a few different advantages which facilitate the expansion of crops within the UAE. This methodology just isn’t affected by the local weather within the area (the temperatures and humidity within the vertical farms are managed), thereby lowering crop failure or crop loss.
Moreover, this methodology can be utilized all yr spherical due to which the manufacturing of crops will increase, and the issue of meals safety can be addressed. Vertical farming has been identified to provide 5 to 10 occasions extra crop amount. In 2020, Abu Dhabi, a serious agricultural space, achieved agricultural manufacturing price Dh13.7 billion, round 12% greater than the earlier yr, 2019.
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There are numerous different environmental advantages of vertical farming as properly: (i) vertical farming method reduces using fossil fuels as a result of farm equipment, which causes air pollution and depletes the pure assets, just isn’t used, and (ii) the vertical farms in UAE are positioned close to residential and business areas, thereby lowering the price of transportation and lowering the air pollution brought on by autos, (iii) in vertical farms largely led lights are used which use photo voltaic vitality to generate electrical energy.
The Authorities gives incentives and funding for the event of agricultural expertise
The federal government is offering monumental quantities of funds for the event of agriculture expertise and in addition to for supporting the ‘Ag-Tech’ companies. In consequence, varied non-public companies have launched digital platforms to handle among the agriculture sector’s points. For example, some ag-tech companies assist in figuring out & addressing the loopholes within the meals provide chain.
Such companies assist in making the meals provide chain easy and sustainable by using digital expertise. Such expertise helps in lowering meals wastage and helps the native companies. Cellular apps have additionally been developed which assist the farmers determine the plant illness and supply instantaneous options.
The variety of natural farms within the nation could be very much less, due to which the Authorities is specializing in the expansion of natural farms. In consequence, solely 34 natural companies in UAE cowl an space of round 3905 hectares. The meals produced on natural farms is of effective high quality and chemical free.
Majorly, the natural farms within the UAE use inter-cropping strategies to resolve the issue of pest assaults. The meals produced by natural farming tastes higher, and such farming strategies additionally present help to the native farmers. Authorities officers make frequent visits to the farms to determine the challenges confronted in finishing up natural farming in order that they will present options to make natural farming successful.
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Meals Know-how Valley has been launched in Dubai:
The Meals Know-how Valley was opened in Could 2021 to attain the goals of the “Nationwide Meals Safety Technique 2051”. The meals expertise valley will assist in addressing the agricultural challenges confronted by the nation by opening:
- Know-how and engineering labs associated to agriculture
- Analysis and Growth middle
- Good meals logistics hub
- Meals innovation middle. The Meals expertise valley may even encompass meals factories, and start-ups, and also will present coaching to specialists and assist conduct analysis.
Ease in organising enterprise in UAE:
The UAE Authorities helps funding within the agriculture sector by offering a number of benefits to buyers, comparable to
- A lot of premises
- Many free-zone areas comparable to DMCC, Jebel Ali Free Zone, and so forth.
- No company tax
- Easy enterprise legal guidelines and rules, and plenty of extra different advantages.
Within the UAE, two varieties of licenses are issued to the enterprise house owners
- Business license
- Skilled license
The business licenses are offered to these businessmen who’re engaged within the buying and selling of agricultural merchandise comparable to
- Buying and selling of seeds
- Buying and selling of flowers and decorative crops
- Buying and selling of tree seedlings
- buying and selling of pesticides, and plenty of extra buying and selling actions
The skilled license is offered to these businessmen who carry out varied agricultural actions and practices comparable to
- Rising crops and gardening
- Rising fruit and palm timber
- Land preparation & irrigation system works & upkeep
- Tree elimination and planting providers, and plenty of extra.
The rulers of various emirates usually take a number of initiatives to plant a particular variety of timber. The principle intention of such initiatives is to stop soil erosion. The UAE Authorities has additionally entered into varied agreements and treaties regarding agriculture with different international locations, comparable to
- Complete Financial Partnership Settlement (CEPA) with India
- Memorandum of Understanding with Irelands Division of Agriculture, Meals, and Marine,
- Worldwide Treaty on Plant Genetic Assets for Meals and Agriculture with Italy, and plenty of extra
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Regardless of varied challenges and points, UAE faces within the agriculture sector, the nation has proven a rising development. UAE has develop into one of the crucial technologically superior agriculture international locations because of quite a few measures taken by the Authorities and authorities to advertise the agricultural sector.
Article by: Vasudha Bhushan
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