One of the key goals of the UAE in the coming years is to make agricultural systems more sustainable and climate-smart, said Mariam Bint Mohammed Almheiri, the UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment.

“The UAE leadership places utmost importance on supporting farmers to enhance the sustainability of the agricultural and food sector and ensure national food security and address climate change,” the Minister said chairing the ninth meeting of the Farmers' Council, to review the latest developments in the national agricultural sector and to discuss the Ministry’s initiatives to promote its sustainable growth.

The meeting also focused on identifying the needs of the farmers to increase domestic productivity and thereby optimise imports. The Ministry will support farmers to enhance agricultural productivity and conserve natural resources, she said.

Top priority

She said: “The transformation of the agricultural sector to make it more sustainable was a top priority for the UAE during the recent COP28 held in Dubai. This is underpinned by the 'COP28 UAE Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems and Climate Action' being endorsed by 159 countries. These countries have a population of over 6.2 billion people, with 530 million farmers, and account for 77% of all the food we eat as well as 83% of all emissions from food systems.”

She underlined the significance of maintaining open channels of communication with farmers to address their requirements. She stressed the need for collective efforts by the government, the private sector, and all other stakeholders to promote the sustainability of the national farms and create new economic prospects for farmers.

The meeting, held in Fujairah, was attended by several high-ranking officials including Mohammed Saeed Al Nuaimi, Acting Undersecretary of the Ministry, Eng. Mohammed Mousa Alameeri, Assistant Undersecretary for the Food Diversity Sector, and Shaikha Ahmed Al Ali, Acting Assistant Undersecretary for the Regions Sector.

Farmers representatives

The meeting was also attended by representatives of farmers who have experience and knowledge of the UAE’s agricultural areas, as well as district managers, and the secretariat of the Farmers’ Council.

The participants reviewed the progress of the recommendations made during the earlier meeting. They discussed the latest updates of the initiative aimed at promoting the sustainability of national farms as well as the volume of local purchases and the increase in the number of farmers who have benefitted from the initiative.

The meeting took decisions regarding the registration of national farms, leveraging marketing opportunities for local agricultural products, and adding new entities to the list of contractors to enhance their contributions to local purchases.

It discussed the farmer support programme for 2023, which aims to coordinate farmer representatives to support productive farmers. The number of beneficiaries of the Production Input Support Programme has increased from 694 in 2022 to 1,140 in 2023.

Honouring ceremony

During the meeting, Almheiri honoured a number of members of the Farmers' Council for their outstanding and dedicated efforts during their membership in the Council. The honourees included Ahmed Hamdan Al Malik, representative of the Northern Agricultural Area, Abdullah Khalfan Al Shuraiqi, representative of the Northern Agricultural Area; Hamed Al Hamed, representative of the Western Agricultural Area - Abu Dhabi; Hassan Juma Al Zaabi, representative of the Western Agricultural Area - Abu Dhabi; Rashid Mohammed Saif Al Atar, representative of the Eastern Agricultural Area – Fujairah; Rashid Muhair Bakhit Al Ketbi, representative of the Central Agricultural Area – Sharjah; Abdullatif Mohammed Al Banna, representative of the Central Agricultural Area – Dubai; Humaid Obaid Mohammed Al Zaabi, representative of the Central Agricultural Area - Ajman.

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