Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, has said that environment-smart agriculture, ESA, is a new concept being adopted around the world, where smart technologies and environmentally friendly agricultural practices are being applied.
In a statement to the Emirates News Agency, WAM, he said, “We, in the UAE, have adopted environment-smart agriculture, by adapting to climate change and dire weather conditions, including the scarcity of water. We use technology to reduce our consumption of water. The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, MOCCAE, began promoting this culture among farmers, whose responses were positive. They purchased supplies, such as seeds, fertilisers and technologies that can help them advance this sector.”
He added that the smart environmentally-friendly agriculture will ensure the optimum use of resources, especially water, and the yield of water from this method is usually higher than other agricultural methods. Aquaculture usually saves 70 percent more water, the Minister explained.
Mohammed Ahmed Al Dhanhany, Director of Agricultural Development and Health at the Ministry, said that the ministry drafted the “Emirates Policy for Food Diversity” and implemented the strategies and initiatives related to smart environmentally-friendly agriculture.
He added that land cultivated with date palms currently occupies about two-thirds of the UAE’s agricultural land while its production value is about 60 percent of the total value of agricultural products.
Smart environmentally-friendly agriculture, Al Dhanhany explained, aims to achieve sustainable agriculture, generate income, deal with the effects of climate change and reduce emissions. He went on to say that smart agriculture enhances the competitiveness of local products, in line with the UAE’s directives and the sustainability plans of the ministry’s strategic plan for 2017-2021.
He noted that MOCCAE is implementing training and guidance programmes on advanced farming methods, promoting modern and innovative agricultural technologies, and communicating with leading farmers. The ministry is keen to coordinate with farmers, to reinforce the adoption of smart agricultural standards, and is implementing an organic agriculture initiative, to help farmers adapt to climate change, Al Dhanhany continued.
“As well as aquaculture, we aim to increase the production of environmentally-friendly crops, through reducing the use of water and emissions,” he affirmed.
The ministry is also issuing legislation that will help reduce the impact of pesticides, as well as promoting the use of biotechnologies and good agricultural practices.