Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) has announced the completion of a major plan to replace locally grown animal fodders with imported ones with a view to drastically reduce the consumption of water in the emirate.
The Abu Dhabi Executive Council has approved the plan to import 50000 tons of fodder for the year 2012. This is a major step towards making agriculture and animal wealth in the emirate much more sustainable than before, as the Rhodes grass which was grown for fodder was consuming a substantial chunk of all water used in irrigation.
HE Rashed Mohamed Al Shariqi, Director General of ADFCA, said the objective of the plan was to guarantee for animal breeders access to the best available types of fodder for the growth of the animals, while also ensuring environmental equilibrium and conservation of natural resources such as water and soil.
"The approval of the Executive Council for the plan is reflective of the leadership's eagerness to provide all the necessary support for food security for the emirate. Given the limited natural resources and the hard environmental conditions here, the emirate is dependent on imported fodder for the animals. ADFCA studied all the options available and decided on the best possible alternative for the growth of animal wealth," Al Shariqi pointed out.
The fodder types being imported are sufficient for all the nutritional and mineral requirements of the animals. There are about 19000 animal breeders in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, with Al Ain having a lion's share of them numbering 11,477. Al Ain has 60% of the emirate's animal wealth with the rest being in Abu Dhabi with 21% and in the Western Region with 19%. The number of animal breeders in Abu Dhabi and the Western Region are 4012 and 3700 respectively.
The cultivation of Rhodes grass cultivation saw a drastic reduction 1550000 ton before to 79000 ton presently as a result of the government decision. Rhodes cultivation was stopped in around 10500 farms until the end of 2011, out of a total of 16000 farms. This has led to the saving of ground water 42%, as consumption in 2011 was only to the tune of 50 billion gallon. These figures indicate the success of Abu Dhabi's efforts at effective conservation of natural resources for a sustainable future.