UAE cultivated area extends over 0.89m acres

DUBAI - Despite its extreme aridity, nutrient-poor soil and high summer temperatures, the UAE’s cultivated area now extends over 2.7 million donums (891,089 acres) which supports more than 40 million date palms, together with various types of fruits and vegetables.

By Moushumi Daschaudhury

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Published: Sat 18 Sep 2004, 9:24 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 12:51 PM

Although, the agriculture sector faces several challenges and obstacles due to its climatic conditions and soil not suitable for cultivation, the government has supported farmers in the form of reclamation and distribution of agricultural land, training and equipments, large scale planting of palm trees to create suitable shaded areas for farming alongwith the provision of fresh water and seedstock.

Last year, the country produced 30 per cent of its food-grain requirements, while some surplus vegetables and fruits were exported. The UAE is 100 per cent self-sufficient in dates and fish, and grows 58 per cent of its vegetable needs. Meat and poultry reached 31 per cent and 17 per cent respectively. The country produces 83 per cent of its daily consumption of fresh milk and 39 per cent of national demand for eggs, according to recent study.

According to sources, progress in agricultural sector has been achieved by increasing cultivable land and by enhancing production methods. The right use of fertilisers, improved seeds, pest and disease control as well as provision of adequate irrigation facilities and the development of support methods during both production and marketing stages contributed to these accomplishments.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has finalised a three-year strategic plan on agricultural research to find practical solutions for obstacles faced by the sector.

The comprehensive plan is based on a four -point programme.

The first stage consists of research and experiment on palm trees, dates and fruit, the second is research on fodder, pastoral and wild plants, the third is for lng-term experiments on agricultural diseases and the fourth is research on protected agriculture or plants grown in greenhouses.

A total of 40 million palm trees have been planted in the UAE and the Ministry is carrying out a project to increase the number of trees even further alongside research into palm saplings and the use of high technology. The Ministry has also established research centres at Al Hamraiyah, Dibba and Fujairah.

In Dubai, the horticulture department recently announced that it has achieved great success in growing flowers that blossom both in winter and summer. Last year, around 300,000 square metres was developed for greenbelt in Dubai and the expansion of the green areas is in the emirate in line with the department's goal of planting greenery on 8 per cent of Dubai’s total urban area.

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