Local vegetables free from pesticide residues

ABU DHABI — In spite of the difficult climatic conditions and the challenge of water security in the region, the production of 100 per cent pesticide-free locally-produced vegetables and fruits is a tremendous achievement for the emirate, said Rashid Mohammed Al Shariqi, Director General of Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority.



By Anwar Ahmad

Published: Thu 15 Sep 2011, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 10:54 AM

A study done by the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority’s laboratories confirmed that the locally-produced vegetables and fruits were found to be 100 per cent free from pesticide residues, while five per cent of imported vegetables were rejected for the same reason.

The vegetables and fruits produced last year in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi were compliant with regulations governing pesticide residues in agricultural produce. The conclusion was on the basis of randomly selected samples from various markets in the emirate.

The total quantity of sales of locally-produced vegetables and fruits between June 2010 and June 2011 was 16,790,829kg and the total value of sales for the season was Dh12,402,658.

There are over 23,000 farms in the emirate with the same number of farmers. Of this, some 8,000 farms are in the Western Region, 12,000 in Al Ain and 3,000 in Abu Dhabi.

With regard to the presence of pesticide residues in imported vegetables and fruits, 96 per cent of all the samples were in compliance with the accepted standards, while four per cent of the imported produce contained pesticide residues in excess of permitted levels, the study said.

According to a study conducted between 2006 and 2010 covering samples from local markets, it was confirmed that the local produce showed tremendous improvement during the period of the study. The report was unveiled by ADFCA on Sunday.

As per the study, while 70 to 80 per cent of the local produce was free from residues tested for in the first three years, the percentage rose to 100 per cent in the year 2010, said Al Shariqi.

The amount of imported vegetables and fruits rejected on account of excessive presence of pesticide residues was double that of the local vegetables and fruits.

According to the study, only 2.5 per cent of all local produce was rejected for having pesticide residues beyond the permitted levels during the early period of the study, while in 2010 there was no rejection at all.

Al Shariqi said, thanks to the wise policies of the country’s leadership, it was able to lay the foundations of an agricultural renaissance with the idea of sustainability at its core. There are many initiatives currently underway in different parts of the Emirate for extensive farming reforms aimed at generating sustainable development. All these aim at supporting the farmers and guaranteeing them fair income and better produce, Al Shariqi said.

The study revealed that the improvement in the quality of local produce was especially palpable in the year 2010.

Al Shariqi hoped that the results of the study would strengthen consumer confidence in local produce, especially since they directly reach the consumers fresh from the farms.

The study also included local and imported dates, with the former being fully free from pesticide residues tested for in contrast to 85 per cent of the latter. Twelve per cent of imported produce contained residues within the permitted levels and three per cent exceeding them.

anwar@khaleejtimes.com


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