Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority emphasizes the need to sustain the existing water storage in the emirate
In celebration of the ï¿½World Water Dayï¿½, Thursday, March 22, 2012;The Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority has emphasized on the need to sustain water storage in the emirate through the rationalization of consumption and avoiding waste, which threatens the future of water and food security in the UAE and the world.
The ï¿½World Water Dayï¿½ this year falls under "Water and Food Security", which will focus generally on water issues, the advocacy of sustainable management of freshwater resources and will highlight the close relationship between the availability of water resources and global food security. ï¿½World Water Dayï¿½ will encourage governments, organizations, communities and individuals to participate in the activities addressing the challenge of water management for food security.
HE Mubarak Ali Mohamed Al Mansouri, Executive Director of Agricultural Affairs at Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority said: ï¿½We are facing several challenges with water usage, particularly in the agricultural sector. It faces many problems that stand as a barrier against sustainability. The total amount of rain in the emirate is below 100 mm per year, the rate of regeneration is less than 4% per year and the rate of consumption for irrigation in the farms is around 1.5 billion cubic meters which is 50% of the total consumption in the emirateï¿½
ï¿½Due to the limited natural resources and the high cost of producing food locally, in addition to the difficult environmental conditions, the UAE relies mainly on the import of food commodities and animal feed, where they are currently importing about 86% of food commodities as well as the bigger bulk of livestock feed including subsidized feed (1.2 million tons per year).ï¿½
ï¿½The Food Security Strategy has emphasized the need to raise self-sufficiency levels in agricultural products through the promoting a sustainable local agricultural production sustainable, taking into consideration the balance between the economic environmental and social objectives as well as enhancing the sustainability of water resources and the use of non-traditional water irrigation methods in agriculture and improving irrigation efficiency and investment in modern and appropriate agricultural techniques.ï¿½ He added
He further explained that these approaches have been taken into consideration and set as priorities and initiatives in ADFCAï¿½s Strategic Plan for the Farmers Service Center and the most important of these priorities is to reduce water use in agriculture by 40% until the end of 2013
He also stressed on the role played by each of the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority and the Farmers Service Center in order to rationalize water use in agriculture and increase the contribution of agriculture sector in enhancing food security. The Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority works to raise the efficiency of water irrigation through the study of major crops water requirements using measuring devices and testing of advanced irrigation techniques appropriate for the crops and the development of ideal and tested of irrigation schemes, the study of the use of enhancers, soil and water conservation materials in the soil and other techniques that help to rationalize water use in agriculture in the open field such as irrigation and subsurface.
The Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority has launched a two year agricultural campaign with the main aim to further enhance the farmers' awareness over the optimal use of water irrigation and the adoption of good agricultural practices and the promotion of local agricultural products. ADFCA has also started to reduce excessive water irrigation methods through reducing the cultivation of crops that have high water consumption particularly Rhodes. Rhodes is currently being replaced by imported animal feed as is has set to consume more that 59% of water irrigation in farms.
The cultivation of Rhodes was stopped at about 10,500 farms out of a total of 16,000 farms by the end of 2011. ADFCA is also working on rationalizing the use of water irrigation for palm trees. Palm trees are the second highest water consumer, consuming almost 34% of water irrigation. This project has been funded $133 million dirhamï¿½s to modernize irrigation systems in all the farms at the western region especially those of Palm trees through the Farmers Service Center. A total of 2333 out of 8000 farms have been provided with modern irrigation networks which are expected to help reduce water irrigation consumption by 50% in some farms.
The Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority is working on adopting new highly efficient technologies in the use of water irrigation especially technologies for greenhouse agriculture, aquaculture and agriculture in alternatives soils, where a partnership has been contracted with the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi to create a center for greenhouse agriculture for ADFCA agricultural Research center in Al Ain which aims to transfer, adapt and test the latest farming techniques and agriculture in protected soil substitutes "closed system" and compare it with normal farming techniques protected and medium-modernity. This system is considered to be one of the best and most efficient techniques for water use in agriculture, where productivity of tomatoes increases, for example, about 80 kg / m 2 spins and re-uses water irrigation by 95%. The center will provide accurate and reliable information on the private and protected farming techniques with respect to efficiency in the exploitation of water irrigation and economic as well as environmental viability.
On the other hand, The Farmers Service Center imported varieties of potatoes with a short life span and high productivity. Potatoes are considered to be a major food crops with an efficient use of water irrigation in the open farms. The Farmers Service Center is also working with ADFCA to introduce some times of feed that have high tolerance to salinity and drought.
There is also directed to the use of treated wastewater in agriculture and will soon begin implementing a project to irrigate 216 farms with waste water in Al Nahtha and Al Wathba areas after passing through the fourth sterilization phase (using filtering technology developed and sterilized with UV), where is this water suitable for agriculture and at lower cost treatment (than the the use of the RO..)