Watch: Sharjah Ruler drives to massive UAE wheat farm to witness first harvest

He had sowed seeds at the 400-hectare facility four months back


A Staff Reporter

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Published: Mon 20 Mar 2023, 12:14 PM

Last updated: Mon 20 Mar 2023, 10:44 PM

Seeds sown by the Sharjah Ruler at a massive farm have borne wheat, with workers and farmers harvesting produce from eight green circles carved out of the UAE desert on Monday.

Free of harmful chemicals, pesticides and genetically-modified seeds, the wheat grown in the UAE desert is among the best in the world as it has the highest percentage of protein.

The crop cultivated in Sharjah has 18 per cent of protein in it, as opposed to the 14 per cent present in the best quality wheat currently available.

The harvest will yield 15,200 tonnes of wheat. Of this, the Sharjah Cooperative Society has reserved 9,000 tonnes. The remaining produce will be distributed among other retailers.

His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, had sown the seeds at the 400-hectare farm on November 30, 2022. Nearly four months after, he has driven back to the massive field to witness its first harvest.

A video posted by the Sharjah Government Media Bureau showed workers harvesting the produce from eight green circles carved out of the Sharjah desert.

The Sharjah Ruler said bread made from the wheat cultivated in Sharjah needs locally-produced cheese. To this end, a cow breeding project will be launched in the Emirate soon. The facility, which will come up about 9km from the wheat farm, will start with 1,000 cows.

Addressing the cultivation ceremony, he said the number of cows at the facility will double in the second phase. “So, we are preparing another project consisting of a dairy factory and dairy products.”

Sharjah-1, world's finest wheat

Authorities in the emirate are currently conducting research to produce the world’s finest wheat that will be called Sharjah-1, Sheikh Dr Sultan said.

The UAE imports about 1.7 million metric tonnes of wheat in a year. Of this, Sharjah requires about 330,000 tonnes. The field will help reduce the emirate’s dependence on imported wheat, the Sharjah Ruler added.

He explained that the land on which the farm has bloomed once used to have a water stream. Water would flow from the mountains to this land and then to the sea. The land, therefore, is fertile.

First announced in March 2022, farmers and engineers experimented with 35 varieties of wheat before identifying the most suitable one to grow in Sharjah.

The second phase of the project will see the area expanded to 880 hectares by 2024. By 2025, it will cover 1,400 hectares.

Thirteen-metre irrigation lines water the crops in a process that is powered by artificial intelligence. A state-of-the-art irrigation station provides water to the wheat farm through six large suction pumps with a capacity of up to 60,000 cubic metres of water throughout the day. Water is transported from the Hamda station through a 13-kilometre conveyor line to the farm.

Farming the desert

Farms are blooming across the country as the UAE realises its plans for food production with recycled water and minimal waste. The UAE, which will host the COP28 climate conference this year, saw the world’s largest indoor vertical farm of its kind for research and development open in its capital, Abu Dhabi, recently. The world's largest vertical farm opened in Dubai last year.


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