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(R) His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, during his tour of the Farm on Monday Image Credit: WAM

Sharjah: The Mleiha Dairy Farm opened in Sharjah on Monday, starting with 1,200 purebred cattle from Denmark and Germany.

His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, inaugurated the first phase of the Farm and launched its visual identity.

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The event took place in the presence of Sheikh Abdullah bin Salem bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah.

Upon his arrival, Sheikh Sultan witnessed the ringing of the farm’s bell by a group of children, signalling the official opening of the farm.

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Each cow is carrying a female fetus Image Credit: WAM

In his speech on this occasion, the Ruler of Sharjah emphasised the integration of productive projects in the emirate to provide healthy food for all family members. These projects include vegetable production, wheat farming, dairy farming, and poultry farming, which is set to open soon.

In addition, specialised education is being provided to support these projects with qualified scientific personnel through the establishment of the University of Al Dhaid. This aims to ensure a dignified life for citizens, thereby achieving social stability and fulfilling the objectives of raising healthy children.

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Sheikh Sultan expressed his happiness with the success of the two projects: The vegetable production project and the wheat project in Mleiha. The wheat project started with around 450 hectares, and for the first time, it achieved the highest and finest protein percentage of 18 per cent in the first year. In the second year, with an increase in the cultivated area to 1,400 hectares, the protein percentage further rose to 19.1 percent.

1,200 cows from Germany, Denmark

Sheikh Sultan said: “Today, we inaugurate the third project, for which a budget of approximately Dh600 million has been allocated, as this is a substantial budget, and what we are witnessing today is just the beginning and work is underway to complete the entire project plan.”

He added: “The cows we have are purebred cattle that have not undergone any breed improvements. We have been working for two years to acquire and assemble them in a facility owned by the Government of Sharjah. These cows come from northern Germany and southern Denmark, and they are pregnant, with each cow carrying a female fetus. This is a medical and scientific process carried out under medical supervision, where the female cows are inseminated to carry each one of them with a female fetus. Currently, we have 1,200 cows, and each of them will give birth to a calf, resulting in 1,200 new cows. In the upcoming season, we will have additional numbers of cows, and so on.”

The Ruler of Sharjah emphasised that the cattle project receives complete care in all aspects, including health, environment, nutrition, and natural growth, to ensure that the milk is a complete and healthy food. Within the next three years, it will become the largest production project for clean, natural, organic milk.

Sheikh Sultan discussed the journey of fresh organic milk from the moment it is milked from the cows, where it is packaged in specialised containers that prevent light and oxygen from entering, as these factors can affect the milk. Furthermore, these containers will be recycled.

Poultry project

The Ruler of Sharjah discussed the fourth project, which is the poultry project by saying: “ The poultry project complements the other three projects.” He clarified that the poultry will be from a slow-growing breed, raised through free-range farming and organic agriculture. The poultry meat and eggs produced will be natural products because they will be fed with natural food. Additionally, traditional natural remedies will be used to treat poultry in case of illness, making them beneficial and harmless to human health. This poultry will not be given any growth accelerators, hormones, or artificial substances. Furthermore, they will be raised in spacious open areas, allowing them to grow comfortably over a period of 70 days.

Sheikh Sultan highlighted the harmful effects of using unhealthy substances and growth accelerators in poultry and cattle, which can disrupt human hormones, contribute to tumor growth, and increase the risk of cancer. Additionally, it can have unnatural effects on the growth of children and young individuals.

Interconnected projects

He explained that these production projects are interconnected, where the by-products of each product are utilised to feed the other or enrich the soil with natural fertilisers derived from animal waste. This makes them environmentally friendly projects that preserve the environment.

In conclusion, the Ruler of Sharjah addressed parents, emphasising the importance of caring for children from an early age.

Sheikh Sultan mentioned the availability of nurseries for children from their first year, highlighting the significance of proper social upbringing for children, as well as the preservation of language, culture, heritage, and faith as these elements contribute to the well-being and future of society and the nation.

Farm tour

The Ruler of Sharjah toured the farm facilities, built on an area of 3,077,000 square metres, and include purebred Holstein cows, the first of their kind in the Middle East, which produce A2A2 protein organic milk.

During the tour, he viewed the farm’s barns, designed with a metal structure to suit climate change. The barns, in the first phase, contain 1,200 cows carrying females. The farm is working to establish a nucleus herd consisting of 5,000 cows carrying natural, non-genetically modified A2A2 genes, over the next five years, with the completion of 63 barns.

Smart systems

Sheikh Sultan was also briefed on the latest technologies used in monitoring cows through necklaces installed on the neck of each cow. Necklaces aim to detect cows’ movement and health, and to determine when they are vaccinated, in addition to using the automatic feeding system and rubber flooring to maintain the safety of cows during the feeding period. Locking system contributes to facilitating the consumption and stabilisation of feeding during periodic checks.

Automatic cleaning methods are applied through the flow of water treated in safe ways within the water treatment purification unit on the farm, in addition to the cooling system and dry fans to repel insects.

The Ruler of Sharjah listened to an explanation about the space that the farm provides for cows inside and outside the barns, which depend on organic laws and legislation. The space aims to reduce stress on the cows, in addition to the application of biosecurity measures on the farm and all its facilities, and the organic feed that the cows are fed on the farm, and its sources. The farm relies on providing this feed on several sources, starting with the centre for manufacturing balanced feed mixtures on the farm, and examining the ingredients to ensure its quality and compliance with specifications, space will be allocated on the farm to grow organic fodder, in addition to relying on organic wheat hay and bran from the Mleiha farm.

Automatic parlours

Sheikh Sultan visited the automated secondary parlour, and saw the role it plays, designated for newborn cows with a capacity of fifty points. Two main circular automatic parlours will be constructed for dairy cows, with a capacity of eighty points each. Each milking cycle takes seven minutes, which will enable three thousand cows to be milked within seven hours in one circular parlour, three times a day

In a parental panel discussion, during the tour, with a group of children, the Ruler of Sharjah explained the importance of eating healthy food and its impact on the future of human life.

He called on the children to be ambassadors to educate their peers about the necessity of adhering to healthy food and staying away from harmful food. His Highness listened to the children about the types of foods, the healthy ones and the harmful ones and the health effects they cause to the human body.

Sheikh Sultan viewed samples of environmentally friendly paper boxes and containers that will include Mleiha Dairy Farm products of fresh milk, yoghurt and labneh.

The Mleiha Dairy Farm, which is supervised by Sharjah Agriculture and Livestock Production EST. (Ektifa), is based on the model of organic production prepared using authentic methods as the first farm of its kind in the Middle East. The herd of cows was chosen because it is a natural breed characterised by extreme endurance. Its upbringing in open natural pastures contributed to making it enjoy great immunity and less exposure to health diseases, in addition to the fact that its milk contains the A2A2 protein, which is of high quality, and a higher percentage of fats and proteins, compared to other common cows. Milk contains approximately more than four percent fat, and 3.5 percent protein. It is considered one of the finest types of milk that will reach consumers in its natural form without any interference or reduction in its components. It is also characterised by ease of digestion and reduces intestinal disorders.

The Foundation works, within its various projects, to ensure sustainable food security system, and to achieve integration through the circular economy to produce organic fertiliser to preserve the environment, which contributes to increasing soil fertility providing it with the necessary and beneficial elements, which is one of the most important inputs in the wheat farm in Mleiha, which in turn supplies the Mleiha dairy farm and the poultry farm with organic feed.

This is with the aim of achieving integration between agricultural and livestock production, and achieving the principle of the circular economy, which promotes sustainable development and future economic growth. This innovative method represents the set of economic benefits of the circular model and represents a great opportunity for the Emirate of Sharjah to focus on improving resource efficiency and effectiveness, by reducing waste in the manufacturing and reuse process, and extending the life cycle of materials and products in an environmentally appropriate manner.

The opening ceremony was attended, alongside the Ruler of Sharjah, by Sheikh Mohammed bin Humaid Al Qasimi, Head of the Department of Statistics and Community Development; Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah bin Majid Al Qasimi, Director of the Department of Municipalities Affairs; Abdul Rahman bin Mohammed Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention; and Dr Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Chairman Sharjah Consultative Council, and a number of senior officials and notables from the region.