Abu Dhabi: More organic vegetables and fruits are poised to enter the Abu Dhabi market as 100 traditional farms are being converted into organic farms.
A model organic farm created on Zayed Farm, a 98-hectare property in Liwa, has already started supplying its produce to the market, according to the Abu Dhabi Farmer’s Services Centre (ADFSC), the government agency overseeing the emirate’s farming sector,
Following its success, the ADFSC this year signed agreements with 25 more farms to help them go organic. Starting 2019, around 20 farms will be converted to organic every year.
The organic farm initiative is part of sustainable agricultural practices that help preserve natural resources and provide markets with healthy, safe and high quality products.
“We aim at providing theoretical and practical programmes for farmers to encourage them to switch from traditional to organic agriculture, through workshops, lectures and some support programmes, such as paying organic certification fees on their behalf, obtaining organic certification from the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology [Esma], in addition to providing the requirements of organic agriculture at competitive prices through the centres selling agricultural inputs of the centre,” Nasser Mohammad Al Junaibi, acting CEO of the ADFSC, said.
The centre is partnering with farmers who wish to adopt organic farming, with use of organic pesticides and biological control systems to reduce the use of chemicals in agriculture, whether fertilizers or pesticides.
Zayed Farm produces several vegetables and fruits such as lettuce, green chilli, capsicum, strawberry, cucumber, red radish and cauliflower.
“We have already received organic certification from Esma for this farm and other farms joining the programme will also get the same certification,” said Adel Salem Al Saeedi, farming section manager at ADFSC.
The model farm will educate the farmers about the benefits of organic farming and ways to convert traditional farms into organic farms, he said.
The centre will extend technical support to farm-owners, managers and workers during the transition period with required training, Al Saeedi said.