DUBAI, 2nd April 2018 (WAM) – The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment is to distribute nearly 54 million free Acacia seeds (1,400kg) to the public starting next Sunday to promote the number of these local trees on account of their high importance to agriculture and beekeeping.
Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said, “The UAE’s founding father the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan put great emphasis on agriculture as a pillar of development, when he articulated ‘Give me agriculture and I will give you civilization’. This initiative will promote agriculture nationwide, in line with his vision.”
Dr Al Zeyoudi stressed that the Ministry is keen on forging partnerships with the private sector, as part of its strategy to sustain biodiversity and natural resources. “Giving away Acacia seeds falls within our partnership with the private sector. I would like to extend my appreciation to Abdullah Mohammed Al Haj, who provided the Acacia seeds,” Dr Thani added.
MoCCE will provide the public with complete information on the right process for growing Acacia tress from seeds. Growing Acacia trees is a 6-month process that starts with soaking the seeds in water for 24 hours, then sowing every two seeds 2cm deep in one plant pot or saucer (9cm) of peat moss while misting regularly, and placing the pots in a shady area receiving only morning sunlight.
Seedlings will be ready to be planted in their own container (5 liters) when they reach about 20cm tall. And, after growing up to 80-100cm tall, they should be placed in 20-liter containers in the sun. The potting mix should comprise 1:1 ratio of peat moss and garden soil. And finally, the Acacia shrub should be transplanted to the field, when they reach 150cm high.
Acacia trees can be found in sand and gravel valleys and the slopes of the mountains at a medium altitude. They are commonly found and widespread in the eastern parts of UAE and Hafeet Mountain in Al Ain.
Acacias have a high drought and salt tolerance; they grow in areas with annual rainfall as low as 40 mm. They can reach up to 4-6 meters tall and have an umbrella-shaped crown with a diameter range of 5-8 meters. Their stem and branches are reddish-brown in color and the leaves are thin, elliptical to a spoon shape. Spines are paired, straight and white, and the flowers are pale yellow.
Acacias offer a wealth of benefits: They are a good source of feed for animals, as they provide a valuable source of protein and energy during drought when all other feed is absent, Acacia branches are a rich source of nutrients as they contain 38% of raw protein and phosphorus and the calories needed to provide livestock with energy, the leaves and seeds of the Acacia are also used in the preparation of folk remedies and medicines, it is one of the most useful trees in the fields of landscaping and arbor – it is called the parachute tree as it shades large areas, Acacias protect soil from erosion and combat desertification, Acacia wood is used to manufacture the finest coal, and they are considered one of the most important trees for beekeepers, as they are a good source of nectar used by honey bees in the production of the finest types of honey.
The initiative is open for everyone. Interested individuals can contact the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment on the toll-free number 8003050 to learn more about the initiative.