UAE: This 9-year-old farmer is turning the desert green; growing tomatoes, carrots, potatoes on his farm

Grade 4 Emirati student's passion for farming is geared towards achieving food security for the Emriates by managing large agricultural operations

by

Ahmed Waqqas Alawlaqi

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Musleh Saeed Al-Eryani in his farm. Photo: Supplied
Musleh Saeed Al-Eryani in his farm. Photo: Supplied

Published: Tue 9 Apr 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Tue 9 Apr 2024, 11:27 PM

In the gardens of his family home in Al Ain, 9-year-old Musleh Saeed Al-Eryani spends his free time pursuing his true passion — organic farming. He has been cultivating an impressive green thumb since a very young age.

Musleh's interest in agriculture began when he was three and a half years old. He would collect leaves and plants, observing them grow in water containers - his own little hydroponic garden. Now, he spends his days caring for an array of crops, including arugula, parsley, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, eggplant, and cauliflower.


After finishing his schoolwork, Musleh goes to the farm to water his plants and pick any ripe fruits or vegetables to share with his family and neighbours. Harvest time is his favourite part of the process. "I enjoy reaping what I've worked hard for and being able to distribute my crops," Musleh said.

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For the Grade 4 Emirati student, a typical day on the micro-farm involves getting his hands dirty — watering, weeding, pruning, and picking the bounty with a sense of responsibility uncommon for most kids his age. However, he faces his fair share of challenges, too. "Sometimes plants don't grow, or the produce isn't edible. But I keep trying, two or three times, until I get it right. Agriculture teaches you patience."

Musleh aspires to achieve food security for the UAE by managing large agricultural operations. With the support of his father, who provided the startup land and seeds, he is already looking ahead to ambitious new farming projects that focus on cultivating rare, imported crops.

"I want to farm and become an expert (in agriculture), managing the biggest vegetable and fruit farm one day," Musleh sounded optimistic. Not only has his farming helped supplement his family's food supply, but it has also instilled resilience.

"Farming taught me perseverance, working hard until the harvest," he reflected. "Providing for my family's needs gave me a big sense of accomplishment at my age."

Musleh suggests that young people his age interested in farming read books about agriculture, watch videos, take courses, and visit local farms to learn from the experts. Most importantly, he advised staying patient and persistent. "The rewards of your hard work will eventually manifest."

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