Efforts to raise local food production has got a major boost as Abu Dhabi-based agritech firm Silal announced plans to invest Dh200 million to upgrade 80 local farms in the emirate.
It has also launched a new brand, which ensures food produce reaches from farm to shelf within 24 hours. Silal inked a memorandum of understanding with LuLu Group to provide residents in the UAE with local fresh fruits and vegetables that are harvested in Abu Dhabi farms.
Eng. Jamal Salem Al Dhaheri, CEO, Silal said the programme aims to increase local production and quality from the 80 selected farms.
“As our beloved nation approaches its 50th anniversary, we pledge to contribute to bolstering the UAE’s agricultural sector through adopting the latest sustainable agritech solutions and uplifting local farmers’ capabilities and improving their resources and skills,” he said during the first edition of Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Security Week.
Al Dhaheri underlined that Silal strives to increase technology adoption across the farms, ensuring their full transformation from basic to well-developed commercial farms and improving farmer livelihoods.
The two-phase upgrade will run till the end of the next year and so far, 40 farms have been selected for the first phase of upgrades. Silal will operate these farms, train farmers on the best practices in agriculture and the use of technology to increase yield, reduce operating costs and define crop plans to maximise farms’ profitability.
Additionally, the newly launched ‘Silal Fresh’ brand will ensure food produce reaches from farm to shelf within 24 hours. The produce of more than 60 varieties is sourced from more than 900 local farmers.
Al Dhaheri said with ‘Silal Fresh’ consumers across the UAE will get the freshest fruits and vegetables, sustainably grown in Abu Dhabi by local farmers.
“The fruits and vegetables market in the UAE relies heavily on imports, which often travel long distances and are stored for several months, thereby reducing the quality and nutritional benefits of fresh produce.”
Al Dhaheri said ‘Silal Fresh’ will enhance the competitiveness of local produce while supporting local farmers, by selling their fruits and vegetables across UAE markets, which, in turn, increases their income.
Separately, Silal signed a MoU with LuLu Group to offer the produce across the country.
Yusuffali M.A., LuLu Group chairman and managing director, said the collaboration is a “national duty” to open doors to Silal’s efforts to market local agricultural produce.
“Around the world, the ‘grow local, eat local’ movement is gaining ground and this not only supports the economy, but it is also about building a sustainable food ecosystem,” Yusuffali added.
Under this MoU, LuLu Group will market Silal’s local fresh produce through its branches across the UAE. — firstname.lastname@example.org