Mr. Yaqoob Al Balooshi, Fresh Category Trade Dept. Manager, Union Coop confirmed that the Cooperative is and always has been keen to offer the best quality Fruits & Vegetables to consumers at competitive prices, revealing that 100 tons of fruits and vegetables are supplied to the Cooperative daily, including 60 tons of vegetables and 40 tons of fruits, noting that the cooperative contracts with suppliers are established within strict conditions and procedures.
He further referred to the performance of its organic Union Farms during 2022 produce 20 types of leafy vegetables, which covers 30% of the consumption of cooperative branches, noting that work is currently underway to study the possibility of producing vegetables through a similar project in any future branches of the cooperative. Moreover, this concept of farming represents an educational aspect for visitors of the cooperative who belong of different ages, especially school students, and shows them the correct method of hydroponic farming.
He pointed out that the cooperative has been keen for decades to support local products of all kinds and types and to support Emirati farmers continuously by providing great facilities to Emirati farms to encourage sustainable agriculture, in addition to contributing to building sustainable food security, noting that the number of farms that the cooperative deals with in 2022 is 95, including 42 local companies, 9 conventional farms, 28 organic farms, and 16 hydroponic farms.
He added that the cooperative imports new varieties of fruits and vegetables directly from many countries to ensure the availability of products to meet the needs of shoppers, as these new varieties are imported from the Caucasian region (Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan) with high quality and competitive prices, which are transported by air.
In addition, he indicated that the cooperative regularly works with local companies and participates in specialized exhibitions for vegetables and fruits to explore new sources of international products and their varieties, Pointing out that the cooperative is also constantly working with farmers in Emirati farms that contract with to sustain production for longer periods throughout the year, thereby enabling them to use new agricultural methods such as aeroponic and aquaponic farming in addition to the currently available organic and hydroponic farming.
He further stressed that the cooperative pays regular visits to supplier firms and Emirati farms weekly to ensure strict compliance to health and safety standards, in terms of storage, packaging and transportation, in line with the Legal and regulatory authorities in the country and to ensure their commitment to using the recommended ingredients, components, fertilizers and pesticides in the correct ethical manner.