The People of Determination Care and Rehabilitation Centre in Ajman came first in the School Gardening Competition organised by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) it was announced yesterday.
Umm Al Arab School in Abu Dhabi came second followed by the Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai. Sponsored by Al Anood Livestock, the competition, which ran from October to April, drew the participation of 44 schools across the UAE.
The scheme aligned with the Cabinet Resolution No. 31 of 2018 on community plantation and agriculture, issued by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
The awards were presented by Dr Thani Bin Ahmad Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment.
“We are encouraged by the eagerness, enthusiasm and passion of the competition’s participants, and the innovative ideas and solutions they have presented,” said Al Zeyoudi.
“The competition aimed to strengthen the connection of Emiratis with their environment and their agricultural heritage, as envisioned by the Founding Father of the UAE, the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and reinforced by our wise leadership today,” he added.
He noted that through providing an open learning environment and practical experience, the objective of the competition was to nurture a love for the earth and the environment in Emirati youngsters early on and pique their interest in growing fruits and vegetables. It also introduced children to diverse cultivation practices, such as hydroponics, organic farming, and modern irrigation, as well as giving them knowledge of the crops that are best suited to the UAE’s arid climate.
Criteria to determine the winners included utilising water-saving irrigation methods and organic farming techniques, ratio of cultivated land to the school’s total area, quantity and quality of crops, and absence of pests.
Participating schools were also assessed on their efforts to drive innovation and on presentations of their educational plans for enhancing students’ knowledge of agricultural practices. The three top-scoring schools received prizes in kind.
Details of the competition can be found on the MOCCAE website. The page contains an easy-to-understand instruction manual on crop cultivation as well as the best time for planting and harvesting each crop.