Abu Dhabi Farmers’ Services Center conducts 200,000 extension visits to Abu Dhabi farms in 2017

ABU DHABI,18th April 2018 (WAM) – Abu Dhabi Farmers’ Services Center conducted about 200 thousand extension visits to the Abu Dhabi farms during 2017, focusing on providing technical and guidance support to farm owners and workers, raising their awareness of the best agricultural practices, methods of modern agriculture and optimum water use, with the aim to help increase farm productivity and improve the quality of local production as extension engineers conduct an average of 8-9 extension visits to each farm per year while visiting farms that adopt hydroponics systems at the rate of one visit per week.

Moreover, the ADFSC provided special attention to the supplier farms, where it assigned a supply engineer to visit farms periodically with the rate of one engineer for every 50 farms to raise awareness of the ways of preserving the quality of the crops until they are supplied to the receiving centers of Abu Dhabi Farmers’ Service Center.

In 2017, ADFSC succeeded in rehabilitating 270 farms to obtain the Good Agricultural Practices (Global GAP) certificate according to the approved specifications of the Global GAP organization. These farms contributed to produce about 27% of the total vegetables supplied to the center, thus enhancing the advantages of the local production, as the certificate is a trust mark of the good agricultural practices.

According to the classification of the farms holding the GAP Certificate, there are only 108 palm farms, 92 mixed palms and vegetable production farms in open fields, 26 greenhouse farms and 44 mixed palms and greenhouse farms. The GAP certification demonstrates the commitment of these farms to food safety, worker safety and environmental sustainability at the farm.

In the context of efforts to reduce water consumption by raising awareness of the best irrigation methods, the Center succeeded in changing the irrigation methods in a large proportion of the emirate’s farms. Statistics indicate that by the end of 2017, the proportion of farms that turned into drip irrigation had increased as the best way to rationalize consumption of water. This method is used in about 97% of Al Dhafra farms while it is used in 92% of Abu Dhabi farms, compared to 73% of Al Ain farms. The center is intensifying its extension campaigns to increase this percentage.

In order to implement the best practices, ADFSC has worked to encourage agriculture in green houses and net-houses that help produce some crops during the seasons of agriculture in the open field. In this context, the Center provided all support to farmers, whereas its efforts in this field were culminated by increasing the cultivated areas to 16,715 greenhouses producing about 44,500 tons, representing about 55% of the total vegetable production in Abu Dhabi Emirate.

The successive farming method was introduced, which contributed to improving the continuity of the supply of vegetables products to the markets and avoiding marketing bottlenecks. Moreover, the suspended farming system was introduced to vegetable crops which contributed to increased productivity and improved quality, in addition to the introduction of 10 varieties of sweet potatoes and their cultivation in the climatic conditions of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi as well as introducing four varieties of quinoa and 6 types of high salt tolerant feed i.e. (Snickers, Bencom, sporobolus , Bajra Napier Hybrid Grass, Acacia and Cabbage).

In terms of palm services, the Center has worked on the implementation of integrated management systems for palm services and educating farmers on the ways to care for palm trees from the beginning of the season to the harvest of fruits. and the application of integrated systems for controlling pests affecting palm trees and the implementation of control operations according to the results of the comprehensive survey of date palm farms in Abu Dhabi which included 6.8 million palm trees in 22,572 farms at the level of the emirate to detect the red palm weevils and stalk borers and other pests.

According to the results of the survey, the Abu Dhabi Farmers’ Service Center succeeded in uprooting and chopping 77,248 dead and severely damaged palm trees in about 5138 farms in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Dhafra area to eliminate damaged palm trees, eliminate palm tree pests, promote integrated pest management and use them in the production of organic fertilizer, where about 1.950 million kilos (about 2000 tons) of the minced product were transferred to organic fertilizer production plants to be re-produced as organic fertilizer.

According to the survey, 3.3 million palm trees infected with stem borers were treated with spraying with appropriate pesticides, 83.5 thousand palm trees infected with red palm weevil were injected with appropriate pesticides and fustoxins and about 110,000 palm trees were also fogged in 332 farms distributed in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Dhafra areas.

A total of 213.9 thousand palm trees were sprayed with Micro Sulfur in 577 farms and infection with Lesser date moth and old-world date mite was also controlled in 7196 farms with a total of 2.9 million palms. As for the pheromone traps attracting red palm weevil, which is considered to be the most dangerous palm pests, about 1.09 million weevils were trapped in 2017, by which the total number of palm weevils caught since the start of the program increased to about 6.47 million weevils, and 123.5 thousand pheromone traps have been maintained in all the farms of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

“Our goal is to build the capabilities of farm owners and to educate them about modern agriculture methods to ensure natural resources are conserved and the optimum utilization of soil and water, help improve the quality of local products and increase productivity,” said Nasser Mohammed Al Junaibi, Acting CEO of the Farmers’ Service Center.

He explained that the Farmers’ Service Center has 30 extension centers across the Emirate, including 2 centers in Abu Dhabi, 16 centers in Al Ain and 12 centers in Al Dhafra, so that they can meet the needs of the farmers quickly and efficiently. These centers provide extension and training services, help farmers apply appropriate agricultural techniques and provide palm services of all kinds, such as integrated pest control services and farmers’ assistance to turn their farms into organic agriculture, in addition to other services such as plowing and soil remediation, stressing the Center’s keenness to activate the role of these centers and meet the ambitions of the achievement of sustainable agricultural development.


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