This was achieved in spite of the difficult climatic conditions and the challenge of water security, says Al Shariqi
Abu Dhabi, September 11, 2011: A study by Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority's laboratories confirmed that vegetables and fruits produced last year in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi were compliant with regulations governing the presence of pesticide residues in agricultural produce. The conclusion was on the basis of randomly selected samples from various markets in the emirate.
In regard to the presence of pesticide residues in imported vegetables and fruits, 96 percent of all the samples were in compliance with the accepted standards Four percent of the imported produce contained pesticide residues in excess of permitted levels.
The study, conducted between 2006 and 2010 covering samples from the local markets, confirmed that the local produce showed tremendous improvement during the period of the study.
During the first three years of the study, 70% -80% of the local produce was free from residues tested for, rising to 100% in the year 2010. The amount of imported vegetables and fruits rejected on account of excessive presence of pesticide residues was double that of the local vegetables and fruits. Only 2.5 percent of all local produce was rejected for having pesticide residues beyond the permitted levels during the early period of the study, while in 2010 there was no rejection at all. 5% of imported vegetables and fruits were rejected for the same reason. The standards and specifications relied on were the same in the case of both local and imported produce.
Commenting on the research results, His Excellency Rashid Mohamed Al Shariqi, Director General of Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, said it was thanks to the wise policies of the country's leadership that it was able to lay the foundations of an agricultural renaissance with the idea of sustainability at its core. "This was achieved in spite of the difficult climatic conditions and the challenge of water security. There are many initiatives currently underway in different parts of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi for extensive farming reforms aimed at generating sustainable development. All these aim at supporting the farmers and guaranteeing them fair income and better produce," he added.
He continued: "The study revealed that the improvement in the quality of local produce was especially palpable in the year 2010. This progressive improvement came as a result of the Good Agricultural Practices implemented during the past few years and the intensification of monitoring on pesticide usage and awareness campaigns to educate the farmers on safe methods."
The Director General hoped that the results of the study would strengthen consumer confidence in local produce, especially since they directly reach the consumers fresh from the farms. "Increased confidence in local produce is an important step towards self-reliance, translating the idea that 'we eat what we produce' into reality.
The study also included local and imported dates, with the former being fully free from pesticide residues tested for in contrast to 85% of the latter. 12% of imported produce contained residues within the permitted levels and 3% exceeding them.