Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed sets out agricultural safety plans in food security drive

Directives are aimed at tackling disease and pest outbreaks at Abu Dhabi farms

Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, has set out plans to boost safety in Abu Dhabi agriculture. Photo: Wam
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Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, has set out plans to bolster the quality and safety of local produce to support Abu Dhabi's food security goals.

Sheikh Mansour, in his role as chairman of Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority, outlined protocols aimed at improving the efficiency of farms, raising community confidence and boosting self-sufficiency in the food sector.

He issued a directive on biosecurity requirements for farms and livestock holdings in the capital to contribute to sustainable agriculture and maximise the output of farms.

The strategy will focus on pest control and eliminating disease from produce, state news agency Wam reported.

Sheikh Mansour said the move would help to safeguard humans, animals and plants from diseases and prevent outbreaks of pests and epidemics.

He underlined the importance of following good practice and precautionary measures to enhance biosecurity in the agriculture sector.

Saeed Al Ameri, ADAFSA's director-general, said the policy had been established to help guard against the outbreak of pests and diseases.

“The new decision comes within the legislative framework regulating the agricultural sector in Abu Dhabi," he said.

“This aims to develop a sustainable agricultural sector, promote the emirate’s biosecurity system, and protect farms and livestock holdings (izba) from the outbreak of pests and diseases.”

Mr Al Ameri said the authority will identify best global practice to prevent the community from the threat of zoonotic diseases, which are transmitted from animals to humans.

The procedures will help to manage risks seriously affecting fauna and flora, he said.

He said farm owners would have a key role to play in implementing biosecurity requirements.

Abu Dhabi steps up agriculture drive

It is the latest step to accelerate growth in agriculture and provide assistance to farmers.

On Thursday, Sheikh Mansour launched mobile services for animal and plant health in remote areas of the country.

The mobile vans are equipped with medicines, first aid, and vaccines for animals and will further the strategy of the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment to protect livestock and provide prompt service to farmers in remote areas.

The initiative — aimed at ensuring sustainable development and agricultural growth — will save animal owners time and effort, as they will not have to transport them to veterinary clinics for certain services.

At the start of the month, a plan to develop plant varieties and animal breeds that are better suited to the UAE’s environmental conditions was unveiled by Abu Dhabi's government.

The Abu Dhabi Agricultural Genome Programme will involve scientific research centres carrying out work to create the new varieties and breeds.

A database of genetic resources and a store of actual material will be set up. Elsewhere, this approach has often resulted in the creation of seed banks.

The initiative is part of ADAFSA's 2022 to 2025 strategic plan to enhance food security.

As well as enhancing food security — a key aim in a country that is a net importer of food — officials also want agriculture to make an increased contribution to Abu Dhabi emirate’s GDP.

The plant varieties and fish and animal breeds developed through the programme will be particularly suited to the UAE’s climate, which is characterised by high temperatures, low rainfall and, in some cases, high salinity levels in soil.

Updated: June 21, 2022, 2:36 PM