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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.