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Livestock is a “safety valve” for local food security

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The UAE pays special attention to the livestock sector by focusing directly on everything related to it through diligent work to overcome all obstacles to its development, and is keen to deal positively by encouraging continuity in order to develop this vital sector, which works on Providing food, economic and social security for the country, as the UAE enjoys an important wealth at this level.
A statistic issued by the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority for the year 2017 estimates that the total head of livestock in the country amounted to 4,567,000 heads, including two million heads of sheep, two million heads of goats, 500 thousand heads of camels, and 67,000 heads of cows and buffaloes, while the latest statistic shows Issued recently by the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi has acquired the largest share of livestock herds, with livestock estimated at 3.5 million heads of sheep, cows and camels, distributed over the three regions of the emirate, 65% in Al Ain and 35% in Al Dhafra and Abu Dhabi.

Al-Ittihad opens the file of livestock, and its local role in supporting food security and achieving stability for this vital sector by supporting breeders and providing the necessary veterinary care for that wealth. Including the fodder subsidy obtained by sheep and goat breeders, with an annual value of approximately 660 dirhams per head of livestock, and the same is true of the support provided to camel breeders, where the value of the fodder subsidy provided for each head is approximately 1600 dirhams, and the federal authorities are keen and the local authorities concerned with this category to encourage citizen farmers to take care of livestock breeding and care, and to provide veterinary, food and extension medical services to them using modern scientific methods, and high technical and technical capabilities in livestock breeding, and to provide fodder to breeders at nominal prices, as well as diagnosing various communicable and non-communicable diseases that threaten livestock. Providing appropriate treatment for sick animals, and immunizing them against various epidemic diseases and others.
An integrated strategy for livestock development
Experts stressed the importance of the role of the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment - from the reality of its work as a federal agency charged with implementing the directions of the state and rational government - in developing policies to preserve this wealth and organizing the process of commercial exploitation of it to enhance its contribution to achieving food security and diversifying the national economy, through the development and application of The integrated management strategy for the protection and development of livestock, raising biosecurity rates, developing and implementing programs to prevent and monitor animal diseases and epidemics, developing inspection and control mechanisms and standards on local farms and across border crossings, in addition to developing and strengthening information exchange mechanisms at the local and global levels.
Dr. Kaltham Kayaf, Head of the Animal Health Department at the Ministry, said: The livestock sector receives great care and attention from the rational leadership to support and encourage live livestock breeders in the country by strengthening all efforts made in the matter of issuing and developing the necessary legislation to regulate the work of these farms, and implement programs to prevent disease. Epidemiological and infectious animal diseases, their monitoring and control, and the implementation of prevention and treatment programs for breeders by providing free veterinary services, including treatment, vaccination and guidance to livestock owners in the country, in addition to preparing control plans to deal with these farms in cooperation with the competent local authorities, and developing mechanisms and standards for inspection and control in local farms. And through border crossings to prevent the entry and spread of diseases, as well as developing and strengthening mechanisms for information exchange at the local and global levels.
Kayaf stated that according to the latest statistics issued by the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority, the UAE owns large numbers of livestock, which have witnessed great growth over the past years. These statistics estimate the number of sheep at about two million heads, the number of goats at about two million, and the number of camels by about 500,000 heads, while the number of cows and buffaloes is estimated at 67,000.

8% Livestock Growth in the United Arab Emirates Country

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The food gap in the country narrowed thanks to the growth of livestock numbers by 8% last year, while Abu Dhabi accounted for 70% of the total livestock, according to estimates by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment.

Statistics indicate that the number of herds of goats and sheep in the country has so far reached about 5 million heads, in addition to about 450 thousand heads of camels.

According to the Federal Center for Competitiveness and Statistics, the number of head of livestock in the country in 2020 reached 5054462 head, distributed among 2054572 head of sheep, or 40.6 percent, in addition to 2399264 head of goats, or 47.4%, in addition to 103,102 head of cows and 497,524 head of camels. .
Abu Dhabi accounted for 70% of the total head of cattle in the country with 35,15281 head of cattle, followed by Ras Al Khaimah with 457,893 or 9%, Fujairah with 405,561 heads or 8%, Sharjah with 331,877 heads of cattle, Dubai with 1,99637 heads, Umm Al Quwain with 87,718 heads, and Ajman with 56,495 head of cattle.
The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment stated that the UAE possesses an important livestock wealth, which constitutes an important element for food security and the national economy alike.

The Ministry focuses its efforts on developing policies to preserve this wealth and organize the process of commercial exploitation of it to enhance its contribution to narrowing the food gap and the national economy, through the development and application of an integrated management strategy to protect and develop livestock, and raise biosecurity rates.

A plan for the Ministry aims to develop and implement programs to prevent and monitor animal diseases and epidemics, develop inspection and control mechanisms and standards on local farms and through border crossings, in addition to developing and strengthening information exchange mechanisms at the local and global levels.

The ministry pointed out that it aims to enhance the role of the private sector in achieving the goals of the state, and dealing with the most important challenges facing workers in the food-related sectors, to ensure the enhancement of food security and sustainability and to ensure the flexibility and continuity of local and external supply chains.

With regard to importing livestock from outside the country, the ministry has developed a system of services provided to the movement of food import in the country’s outlets that have been implemented during the last period, which includes providing an integrated package of electronic services related to approving, quarantine, examining and releasing consignments, increasing the absorptive capacity of quarantine centers, and enhancing the efficiency and number of cadres. The technician in the examination centers, to ensure the absorption of larger numbers of consignments imported to the country and the speedy completion of procedures for examination and release.

It is noteworthy that the total consignments of live animals that were entered into the local market during the period from the first of January to the end of March of 2021 amounted to 284,265 head, compared to 232,662 head for the same period in 2020, an increase of approximately 22%.

As for the support provided to breeders, the Ministry provides free veterinary services to livestock breeders through its 20 veterinary clinics at the state level, including treatment, immunization and counseling services, to ensure the promotion of animal health and animal production.

The Ministry implements campaigns throughout the year to immunize against the most important animal diseases with an economic impact, and provide these services through a specialized staff with experience and competence that includes more than 700 veterinarians affiliated with the Ministry and all government agencies concerned with the sector, including 324 doctors in the field of animal health and 398 doctors in the field of Food Safety.

Reda Al Bawardi - Abu Dhabi

The future of agriculture in the UAE.. Robots plowing the earth and “drones” spraying grain

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It is not traditional anymore, everything is moving at an accelerating pace, it is the year 2070, when Emirati farms are teeming with robots, with the early morning, self-driving cars begin plowing the earth, driven by robots, followed by drones all the time, spraying seeds and giving them a report Detailed about the condition of the soil and moisture, directing it in a smart way, until the harvest begins, so that another car powered by solar energy carries out the picking process, and selects the ripe fruits, excluding those that have not yet ripened, then sends detailed reports on the condition of the fruits, and in the event of an agricultural pest, they identify and deal with it ; Detailed information is sent to the digital control room that is the mastermind of the farm, generates the necessary statistics, as well as the presence of robot workers, virtual non-physical fence, digital fields, robotic control room, and more.

A hypothetical image and a forward-looking view monitored by "Al-Bayan", inspired by the national endeavors on the future of agriculture, and sustainable efforts that push agriculture and food security towards different future paths, to place the UAE in the ranks of the global countries that rely on the triad of automation, innovative solutions and agricultural research for food sustainability.

In a related context, research and investigation about new solutions and advanced studies related to the agricultural sector have become an imperative and a vital focus for which strategies are formulated, as it is an essential tributary to food security, which would stimulate endeavors and calls to encourage scientific agricultural research.

This is the approach that the UAE government and all the authorities responsible for agriculture in the country have followed, including the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority, which adopts a development policy based on directing investment in the agricultural, food and technological sectors. The agricultural sector in Abu Dhabi has become contributing to more than 40 different local agricultural products. .


And because the cross-fertilization of global ideas is of great importance in reaching the sustainable goals set by the authority, many international partnerships and memoranda of understanding that support the food security system have been established, with many research centers, universities and the private sector at the international, regional and local levels, which serve to achieve the vision and goals of the authority in The areas of agricultural sustainability and food and biosecurity, the most important of which are an agreement in the field of agriculture and modern agricultural techniques with the Rural Development Institute (RDI) in the Republic of South Korea, an agreement for a sustainable agricultural development plan with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), agreements with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and an agreement with the Center International Biosaline Agriculture Dubai ICBA.

the nerve of food

Agricultural technology has become the alphabet of companies looking for fresh investment and sustainable food, in preparation for a developed agricultural future in the UAE.

Jinan Investment Company confirmed that attention to the four aspects of irrigation, technical equipment, continuous development and supply chain facilities, constitute a solid basis for supporting national agriculture and foreign investments today and in the future, and the company focuses on supporting these aspects with continuous research and development, which contributed to being a key player in the process of achieving The national agenda and the promotion of food security, which made the company at the forefront of investment companies in the field of agriculture and food production in the UAE and the region.

Irrigation "subsurface"

In 5 continents around the world, the farms owned by Al Dahra Agricultural Company are spread, as the company has started in the United States of America, specifically the state of Arizona, to use subsurface irrigation systems, and these systems are known for their great efficiency to save water and their contribution to sustainability, in order to reduce the quantities used of fertilizers and pesticides to To a very large extent and to preserve the plant and its continuity for the largest possible period.

Also in Romania, Al Dahra uses the largest and most powerful corn and wheat harvesters.

Agriculture automation

Of course, the outlook for the future of agriculture in the UAE is based on the possibilities of high standards and the cross-fertilization of sustainable ideas at the global and regional levels, and was predicted by many global reports that discussed the technical future of agriculture in the Middle East. The National Farmers Report and the Future of Food in 2040 report, to monitor international trends on the future of technical agriculture, where Graham stressed that it is important to think seriously about how to increase productivity and reduce the impact on the environment, as there are technologies under development that will take care of crops and every cultivation or control of pasture Livestock without a physical fence, and by 2040 this technology will be common in the field of agriculture, and the second step is that the agricultural sector must become more efficient to reduce the volume of greenhouse gas emissions, as the agricultural sector plays a prominent role in increasing these gases globally.

Graham said: "Over the next 20 years, we will face potential changes arising from earthquakes, in addition to the increase in the world's population and the need to limit climate change in thinking about sustainable technical solutions, including vertical farming and emerging crops, as the introduction of vertical agriculture and recent developments that will occur in the The technology of using artificial lighting in agriculture (LED lighting), to expand the range of crops that can be grown using hydroponics, aquatic diets, and other controlled ecosystems.

Experts: The UAE is able to achieve sustainable agriculture by employing technology

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Experts in the field of agriculture and entrepreneurs affirmed that the UAE is able to achieve qualitative leaps in sustainable agricultural development, by employing technology, innovative solutions and strategic plans that it has developed to enhance investment in this vital area to achieve food security.
They called for benefiting from the Emirati national experiences that have accumulated during the past period and achieved successes in establishing model farms, stressing the importance of developing development plans to enhance agricultural investments inside and outside the country, and enhance competitiveness for the sustainability of agricultural development in the Emirates.
Experts and entrepreneurs stated that Emirati food security has become a strategic goal that the state seeks to achieve during the next few years, and is a top priority for the wise leadership that seeks to promote sustainable agricultural development and investment in this vital sector, at a time when the countries of the world are witnessing the consequences of the pandemic. COVID-19”, one of the most important of which is the need to secure the strategic food stock to achieve national food security.

In this context, the Director-General of the International Center for Local Agriculture, Dr. Ismahane Al-Wafi, said that the UAE's interest in agriculture has increased during the past three years, and this was represented in the establishment of a ministry concerned with the file of food security, and the state has focused a lot on employing technology and supporting scientific research, stressing that the UAE is moving forward In the right direction, it is always a pioneer and pioneer in various fields.

She stressed that the interest in agriculture and the invention of new agricultural methods will not only serve the UAE, but will also serve many countries with vast areas of desert areas, describing the country's chances in this field as great because of the achievements it has achieved and enabled it to progress for that, as it is a strong candidate to achieve qualitative achievements.

Al-Wafi said: We need integrated agricultural methods and technology, stressing the importance of innovation and development in the agricultural field, in proportion to the environment, the desert climate and the scarcity of water resources.

She explained that the percentage of spending by many countries such as Germany and Japan on agricultural research and scientific innovation is 3% of GDP, and in some cases exceeded it, adding that research will enable us to know the nature of plants and appropriate cultivation methods for each country according to its climatic conditions.

In turn, a specialist in local plants and palms, Muhammad Abdullah Al-Zaabi, called for promoting and supporting innovative agriculture and continuing to support palm cultivation through a law regulating the sale and purchase of palm trees, as the palm trade has become very large and complex, and this tree must be preserved from pests, such as palm weevil and other diseases.

He pointed to the need to market, promote and support citizens' products by the government, and to establish a farmers' association with the aim of serving them, promoting their products and finding solutions to all the challenges they face.

Plant physiologist Dr. Henda Al Mahmoudi said that the UAE has all the ingredients that help it achieve food security, through the application of appropriate technologies that are compatible with the climatic conditions, the natural resources it possesses, technological development and progress in scientific research.

She noted that many standards are changing, and what was impossible years ago is now possible if the right crops and appropriate technologies are used for each environment.

Al-Mahmoudi called for the need to raise awareness of the importance of agriculture and encourage young people to contribute more in the agricultural sector, in parallel with experimenting with possible solutions that are in line with the current conditions, focusing on integrated agriculture and introducing alternative crops that adapt to harsh conditions, that consume less water and contain valuable High nutritional value, as well as the use of appropriate irrigation techniques and soil improvement using several soil conditioners, enable to reduce water use and at the same time increase the yield of crops.

The founder of Gracia Group and one of the pioneers in the agricultural field, Hamed Al-Hamid, stressed the importance of providing models of entrepreneurship in the agricultural sector, and working to support small and medium-sized enterprises according to modern agricultural theories, which will certainly find distinguished models from the people of the country.

Al-Hamid, who received the award for the best agricultural project in the Arab world, said: "Through this project, I managed to manage 120 farms inside the country, and I currently own farms as well outside it, and I made efforts to convey the story of this success to many of the nation's youth."

He pointed out his keenness to train and educate school and university students through their visit to the project headquarters, where their number exceeded ten thousand, in addition to the visiting delegations from a number of countries around the world.

He pointed to the importance of hydroponics, which is one of the productive channels that contribute to rationalizing water, saying: It gives products of high quality, as we applied in our project and adopted hydroponics systems as one of the main channels for agricultural production, and we also divided the farms that we manage into 3 sections, which are a group of farms Which are produced with our own hydroponic systems, organic farms, and traditional farms, all of which are controlled and audited to comply with health, safety and quality standards.

Founder and Executive Director of an Agricultural Corporation, Ahmed Seif Aliwa Al Yamahi, considered that the balance between agricultural food production and fodder production is one of the most important ways to achieve sustainable agriculture, proposing that standards be set for the model farm through which sustainable agriculture is achieved, and support farmers who are committed to applying the standards of model farms at the level of The state.

He said that Emirati entrepreneurs have moved the concept of motivation and support from a purely material perspective to an operational one, meaning that the entrepreneur today is not looking to obtain financing for his project only, but looks at how to manage this project, and the mechanism of marketing the products of this project alike.