Farmers' Service Centre and Biosaline Agriculture Ink Deal for Saline Water Irrigation
The MoU envisages better and wider use of saline water, available aplenty, for improved agricultural productivity
Abu Dhabi, June 23, 2010: The Abu Dhabi Farmers' Service Centre (FSC) signed an agreement with the International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) for cooperation in helping farmers in the emirate make better and more efficient use of water resources in farming.
The agreement envisages implementing the latest techniques in the use of saline water for irrigation with a view to increase agricultural productivity while taking advantage of available natural resources. The agreement will also bind the two organizations to create awareness among the farmers about the strategic importance of expanding the cultivation of salinity-tolerant plants.
Khalifa Al Ali, deputy chairman and delegate member of the Governing Board of FSC and Dr. Shawki Al Barghouti, Director General of ICBA signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organizations at the premises of Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority. Present on the occasion were Rashid Mohammed Al Shariqi, Director General, Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority and Chairman of the Governing Board of FSC, Mubarak Al Mansouri, Member of FSC Governing Board and David O'brien, CEO of FSC.
The agreement will cover a period of three years, extendable to 54 months more if both parties agree. It includes the execution of five schemes, beginning with a comprehensive assessment of the farming system prevalent now, including the quality of the produce, the irrigation system and the efficacy of current marketing processes. The second scheme will comprise evolving strategies for improvement in farming in the short term alongside long term planning for sustainable agricultural production. The remaining three schemes will focus on building and developing the capabilities of the farmers and providing them with services and guidance. Also included in these schemes are efforts to guarantee quality production and annual assessments of the schemes under implementation.
Welcoming the cooperation between the two organizations, Rashid Mohammed Al Shariqi said the agreement with ICBA, one of the pioneering organizations on a global level in bio-saline agriculture, reflected the commitment of the FSC to provide all kinds of technical and scientific support to the farmers in the emirate. "The ultimate objective is to translate into reality on the ground a policy of sustainable agriculture that ensures efficient use of natural resources in both water and soil. Efficient use of water resources has become a global necessity in view of the world's shrinking water resources. The use of saline water in farming helps us not only to fight desertification, but also to increase agricultural productivity and food security. We are determined to explore and employ every means to promote sustainable agriculture in the emirate of Abu Dhabi and bring benefits to the local farmers," he stressed.
Putting the agreement in perspective, Khalifa Al Ali said: "We chose ICBA in recognition of its long and proven expertise in its field of specialization, namely, the use of saline water in farming. We aim to augment the technical capabilities of our farmers through a number of state-of-the-art methods, thereby improving the irrigation system and the utilization of available natural resources, including saline water which is available aplenty. ICBA will prepare specialized programs for the farmers, guiding them in the cultivation of salinity-tolerant plants and their care. They will also set up model farms which serve as a benchmark in the use of latest technologies in farming. The end result will be better productivity and better practices."
Dr. Shawki Al Barghouti of ICBA said: "As per the agreement, we will work on implementing methods for efficient use of water, while supporting the farmers through introducing them to improved varieties of seeds for cultivation. We will also continuously guide them and sensitize them on exemplary methods of farming with guarantees for better production capabilities. The idea behind the agreement is to strive for bringing our farmers up to date with the best farming practices as well as for helping them take advantage of the new scientific techniques in saline farming and water use."