Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority came in to existence, following a decree by H.H. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE which mandated the establishment of a government authority that is dedicated to achieve food safety and protection of food resources in the emirate. The decree was a reflection of UAE leadership's ambition to take Abu Dhabi in to the line of global cities and make it an ideal place characterized by best living situations and quality of life in which the happiness and safety of citizens and residents come in the front. Aligning with this leadership aspiration, Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority set foot keeping food security and safety as well as the development of food and livestock sectors as its prime focuses under the chairmanship of H.H. Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Presidential Affairs who put much efforts further to develop the skills and technical competency to achieve the set goals.
While commenting on the occasion of 50th anniversary of the formation of Abu Dhabi government, H.E Rashid Al Shariqi, Director General of ADFCA commented: "Since the formation of the government body in Abu Dhabi 50 years ago, it has witnessed huge development in all walks of life. During this great journey it has secured its position in the global arena and marked itself as a cultural and economic capital to where global trade and investment flew seamlessly and easily. Among these big leaps the food and agriculture scene of Abu Dhabi stands out with the perfect system to control over food products handled across the emirate adding much pace to the journey towards achieving food security"
Al Shariqi said, by adopting latest technologies and smart and innovative strategies ADFCA was able to take food, agriculture and livestock- the most important strategic sectors for any economy-across various phases of growth in the way towards achieving sustainable development. Being part of propelling the task of achieving food security, ADFCA worked hard in the local, national, regional and global scenes and became a reliable platform with global outlook in the field of food and agriculture, establishing Abu Dhabi as a global player in multiple scenes.
"To continue this success in the future and do better, we have to be keen on guaranteeing excellence and innovation in all fields in the journey to achieve sustainable and comprehensive growth with giving much focus on transforming ourselves to keep in pace with the progress and advancement witnessed in the world around us" Al Shariqi continued.
He highlighted the importance of scope and work of ADFCA as it is dealing with the most essential areas such as food and agriculture which is instrumental for achieving sustainable growth. He hoped that given the best track-record it has shown yesteryears, ADFCA would achieve more in the future coloring the dreams of leadership and people of United Arab Emirates.
"While we are going through the jubilant moments in connection with the completion of 50 years for the government apparatus in Abu Dhabi we need to remember Father of Nation and the propelling force of all these developments, HH. Shaikh Zayed Bin Al Nahyan and take pledge to continue the zeal and enthusiasm he inspired in order to create a brighter tomorrow full of achievements and progress" he reminded.
According to him Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority has achieved a good portion of its strategic goals set in the journey towards sustainable growth in food and agriculture. It has succeeded in providing safe food to all and in protecting the plants and animal wealth by adopting adequate policies and legislation as well as implementing a set of world class standards and criteria and mechanism to control the food in addition to carrying out researches and launching effective awareness programs.
"As we all know Abu Dhabi is now enjoying 99% in the food safety level according to the standard calculation mechanism prepared by UN Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO). This is indicative to the high volume of work ADFCA has done in this regard. This is undoubtedly the positive result of the continuous and studious efforts to ensure that only safe and healthy food is handled inside Abu Dhabi, keeping the end-consumer as a 'Red Line' according to our concepts." Said Rashid Al Shariqi.
While commenting on the achievements in the agriculture field, he said: "Ever since the agriculture added to the scope of ADFCA in 2007, Abu Dhabi has seen great leaps in the way we grow our food. Marking steady growth in the volume of crops produced locally ADFCA introduced a set of programs that focusses on good agricultural practices in the agriculture scene in Abu Dhabi. The concept of sustainability introduced to the farmlands resulted in bringing best experiences in rationalizing water use in irrigation and exploring alternative water usages."
He said the support program designed for the farmers as well as animal breeders contributed in sustaining them in these fields which has strategic importance in achieving food security. The programs also transformed the way they perform and now they are in a position to produce quality products and are competent to sell their produce at promising prices.
After its inception of ADFCA in 2005 by the law No. 2 issued by HH. Khalifa Bin Zayed in his capacity as the Ruler of Abu Dhabi, ADFCA has launched several programs and brought in a total of 54 legislations including laws, regulations, decisions, manuals and practical guidelines which have substantially changed the situation in the food, agriculture and animal wealth sectors in the emirate. The issuance of General Policy Document for Food Safety & Agriculture as well as Animal Identification & Registration Policy also include in the bunch of achievements in 2005.
HH. Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed approved the organizational structure for ADFCA in 2006. The first ever media campaign and the formation of scientific committee that included foreign experts are also marks the journey of ADFCA in 2006.
The year 2007 marks a turning point in ADFCA's journey as a government organization with HH. Shaikh Mansour approved the decision to add agriculture and livestock sectors to the jurisdictions of ADFCA. Also, the authority was given the power to issue rules, regulation and decisions to regulate food varieties that displayed or offered for human consumption in the emirate. The school canteen standards guidelines, launching of hay support program, farmers cash support program, securing UKAS Accreditation for the laboratories and winning of Abu Dhabi Excellence Award for best employee and successful organizing of 3rd Arab Conference on Nutrition also were the other important milestones that made the year very special for ADFCA.
It was in 2008 that the Food Law No.2 and Order No 2 pertaining to the implementation of risk- based food control system on imported food introduced in Abu Dhabi. The mandatory training program for food facility workers on food safety was launched in 2008 which still continues being a good catalyst in ensuring safe food for consumers. The figures show that a total of 158,842 workers have been trained so far under this program. ADFCA became a member of Abu Dhabi Government Contact Center the same year.
The year 2009 was marked the inception of Farmer's Service Center as an initiative from the part of ADFCA. The formation of the social service arm- 'Auwn' which has now accomplished 108 events and activities so far and the implementation of Integrated Management System (IMS) being the first government organization to implement the system were the other achievements in ADFCA's credit in 2009.
The year 2010 also added so many achievements to the profile of Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority. The establishment of Abu Dhabi Food Security Center, launching of animal identification and registration in Abu Dhabi emirate and the launching of farmers support program based on sustainability concepts were took the authority to wider areas of government service. The successful organizing for the first ever SIAL Middle East exhibition which hosted the first ministerial forum on food policies was a great step in ADFCA's journey to become a global organization in the area of food and agriculture. The Abu Dhabi Food Security Declaration was released in this event which has now become the biggest international food event that hit the region annually. It was in the same year that ADFCA started organizing annually the International Dates Festival which highlights the cultural, traditional and economic importance of dates in the country. Launching of agricultural service card for farmers and animal breeders, Agriculture Exhibition in the western region, adoption of communication policy and agriculture and livestock campaigns that focused on sustainability were also included in the bouquet of achievements ADFCA accomplished in 2010. Adding much color to its overall performance, ADFCA bagged the Arab Technology Award for the implementation of Performance & Operations Management System during this period.
Waste water treatment project that benefitted 143 agricultural farms, obtaining of seven international IMS standards, starting of Grocery Support project, implementation of comprehensive palm pest control project through which 21416 pheromone traps were installed in 143 palm farms and succeeded in eradicating 4187842 red weevils and the beginning of Photographic Food Portion Atlas project which was first of its kind in whole Middle East were the outstanding achievements in 2011. In this year, ADFCA added a number of awards and recognitions having national and international importance to its credit. Some of them are: Interior Minster Award for Ideal Partner, Khalifa International Date Palm Award in the category of 'Research and Studies', Stevie International Business Award and the Palladium Global Leadership Award. ADFCA secured conformity certificate for its Integrated Management System from British Standards Institute (BSI) in the same year.
During the year 2012, ADFCA engaged in variety of activities, campaigns and initiatives which had positive impacts on the food and agricultural scene of Abu Dhabi. Expansion of farmers support program to each and every farms in the emirate, issuance of agriculture and food safety policy document, development of local feed that is tolerant to UAE's saline nature and the studies on its impact on animal's growth, launching of awareness cartoon series "Zadna", introduction of wheat varieties of improved quality and high productivity, execution of comprehensive palm pest control program, local produce pesticides residue tracking program and the dedicated activities to promote dates globally and the winning of 'best-seller product' title for dates in the SIAL Shanghai that followed them, are the main benchmarks in 2012. This year, two prestigious awards came to ADFCA which are: Khalifa Government Excellence (Silver) Award and Middle East Foundations Award for excellence in corporate and media communications.
Implementation of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) in Abu Dhabi farms, use of treated water for irrigation, launching of food safety management program- Salamat Zadna and the launching of Smart Applications in the area of food safety marked ADFCA's success in 2013. While the Animal Identification & Registration program won the GCC e-government Award in the best initiative category, ADFCA was entitled for Abu Dhabi Government Performance Excellence award- Executive Council Chairman's Order. This year, the Best Abu Dhabi Government Communication Award was secured by an Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority employee.
Coming to 2014, ADFCA achieved several milestones which had positive impacts on the food and agricultural sector in the emirate while put its mark on the international scene too. The successful organization of Global Forum for Innovation in Agriculture -GFIA was one among them. Launching of animal census program, experiment of quick testing system for diagnosing Corona Virus infection, launching of Greenhouse Agriculture Center in Bani Yas Research Station collaborating with Environment Authority- Abu Dhabi, launching of 24 e-services and the participation in the Zayed Festival with a pavilion called 'Agriculture Environment' and the winning of GAP certificates for 110 Abu Dhabi agricultural farms were the main highlights of 2014 achievements. In 2014, ADFCA bagged the Creativity and Innovation award from Oracle.
Last year, one of the colorful component of ADFCA's activities include the 'Hosted Scientists' program held in connection with Global Forum for Innovation in Agriculture – GFIA 2015 where the authority gathered 300 scientists from across the globe who were having expertise to shape the future food. The seventh animal vaccination campaign targeted 65% of the total number of animals in the emirate was another important milestone in 2015. ADFCA was successful in giving 9.267 million dozes of vaccination to more than 1.94 million animals during this campaign. In the area of honey, ADFCA studiously worked to develop an effective mechanism to combat pest – especially Virroa Mite- and following this, now, efforts are underway to establish a special laboratory for diagnosing honey-bee diseases and supporting pest control activities. Also, ADFCA put much effort to develop policies to ensure continuity of honey hives by providing food supplements and installing umbrellas with insulated roofs which resulted in reducing the destruction of hives by 85% comparing to the figures of the yester years. Further to these achievements, now ADFCA is on a mission to develop Emirati honey-bee breeds by collecting best breeds from countries with climates similar to UAE and reproducing it here through mixing the breeds. The new breeds have shown their adaptability to UAE climate and have recorded best productivity and quality. Vowing to develop the honey sector further, ADFCA developed a technology to examine honey products and to detect fraudulence. By applying this new technology, which is first of its kind in the region, ADFCA is now able to detect the sugar presence in the honey products even if it is very few in quantity. In another development, ADFCA introduced a new technology to detect the mixing of honey with molasses which had positive impacts in ensuring quality honey in the markets. It is noted that there is no any food control body in the whole globe which is having this complex honey analysis technology.
Taking its journey further, on the way to develop a safe and sustainable food sector and to become a leading global food control body, Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority is keen to better its services and to explore newer fields for the benefit of the society. This year, ADFCA launched the comprehensive date-palm pest control program which targeted 24,000 farms located in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Western Region. Transformation to smart food control system, upgrading of 24 e-services and smart services, development of UAE queen bees, and the successful organization of UAE's pavilion and related activities in the International Agriculture Show in Morocco (SIAM) which won the 'Best Pavilion' title of the event are the main achievements in 2016. ADFCA bagged two awards this year during the third Apiculture Association Conference held in Saudi Arabia, one for best innovative technology and the other for best event photography.
It is noted that Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority is now working on a task to introduce the concept of risk management and business sustainability in all its sectors and other organizational units hoping for strengthening skills and capabilities in order to enable them compete with other organizations locally and nationally in the area of implementing risk management and business sustainability systems. Recently the top leadership of ADFCA has approved a risk management and business sustainability methodology and has implemented certain procedures for operations which are conforming to the requirements of International Standards ISO 22301:2012 and to the requirements of Local Business Sustainability Standards AE/HSE/NCEMA 7000:2012 which altogether will help ADFCA to create a comprehensive system starting from documentation of processes, recording risks and scenarios to the stage of review and analysis.