A new agriculture program in the United Arab Emirates is a huge opportunity for Australian firms involved in hydroponics, aquaponics and greenhouse technology.
In collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Farmers’ Services Center, the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development in Abu Dhabi has launched a program called ‘Ziraai’ to support citizens working in the agricultural sector by providing training and marketing services, and giving loans of up to US$275,000 interest-free per farmer.
His Excellency Hussein Jassim Al Nowais, Chairman of the Khalifa Fund, elaborated: “This program aims to cultivate growth in the agricultural sector by helping our farmers to improve the marketability, profitability and efficiency of their farms through cutting edge technology; for instance, by switching to innovative methods that reduce water consumption.”
Under the program, farmers will be incentivized to transition from traditional to modern agricultural methods such as adopting a hydroponics system that can reduce water consumption by up to 80%.
His Excellency Al Nowais said the Khalifa Fund strongly believes in promoting the concept of agricultural entrepreneurs, and the development of the agricultural sector will help to diversify the country’s economic income, while safeguarding food security.
The program includes a package of marketing facilities to help the farmers sell their produce at the best prices and obtain the most attractive returns through smart partnerships with major retail outlets.
The Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority is organising an event called the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA). The event will take place in Abu Dhabi in February 2014.
GFIA is a conference and exhibition that focuses on how innovative technologies can be used to grow more food (and a wider variety of food) using less resources, and how adverse environmental impacts can be minimised… all in the context of arid and semi-arid climates.
Organisers are working with The Khalifa Fund, the Abu Dhabi Farmers’ Services Centre and others to make sure that the kind of technology required by UAE farmers wishing to transition from traditional to high-tech agriculture is present at the GFIA event. Ω
20 September 2013