The Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA) has announced the implementation of a comprehensive agricultural development plan aimed at increasing the efficiency of sustainable agricultural production in Abu Dhabi, WAM reports.
The plan adopts the principle of regional planning of the emirate’s farms, so that similar areas are identified in terms of development and resources, and development procedures are developed to formulate a comprehensive plan that adopts a climate-smart farming approach to promote sustainable development in Abu Dhabi.
H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of ADAFSA, stressed that the implementation of the “Comprehensive Plan for Agricultural Sustainability” is in line with the UAE government’s announcement of the strategic initiative to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, and is in line with the leading global trends in promoting the approach of climate-smart agriculture, to promote the agriculture and food production sector in Abu Dhabi.
The climate neutrality initiative contributes to promoting sustainable development and supports innovation, technology localization, the development of modern farming techniques, food security, and the conservation of natural resources, he explained.
Climate-smart agriculture is defined as an integrated approach to managing agricultural land and livestock, forests and green areas, fisheries, and creating agricultural systems to respond effectively to climate change, ensuring that the three objectives of increasing productivity and economic return from agriculture are achieved sustainably, adapting to climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
ADAFSA confirmed that the “Comprehensive Plan for Agricultural Sustainability” is being prepared in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).
ADAFSA noted that it had made significant steps to ensure the optimal exploitation of natural resources, particularly water, and seeks to achieve more thanks to the adoption of a climate-smart agriculture approach and the application of measures including reducing reliance on non-renewable groundwater, moving towards recycled or desalinated water sources, regulating the distribution of water to farms through mass irrigation plants, moving towards the cultivation of crops that are less water-consuming and more resilient to difficult and saline climatic conditions, as well as activating legislative regulations that help reduce water consumption.
The Authority has recently launched the Abu Dhabi Gap program, the local version of the Global Gap Global Agricultural Practices Programme, which applies standards of quality agricultural production to ensure food safety, sustainable environmental management and the health of workers in its production.
Farms applying these standards are granted a globally certified certificate, with 550 farms receiving this certificate, and the number is expected to rise to about 1,500 by the end of 2022.
The Authority urged farm owners to shift toward organic agriculture, noting that they had succeeded in helping 75 farms shift from traditional to organic agriculture.
ADAFSA pointed out that its research stations are working on the experience of growing basic crops that help to achieve food security and optimal exploitation of resources, pointing to several initiatives adopted to support the trend towards modern technologies, such as the use of integrated algorithms to identify the potential risks of the spread of epidemics and animal diseases, support smart farming systems, vertical farming systems with the capacity to produce 5 to 10 times production in traditional agriculture, and the application of drip irrigation techniques or 3D irrigation to improve water efficiency.