UAE opens Agricultural Innovation Centre

A new Agricultural Innovation Centre has been opened in the UAE ito promote latest agricultural advancements and maintain the agricultural sector’s sustainability in the UAE through state-of-the-art technological innovations, research works, and relevant consultations.

Source: Emirates News Agency, WAM

Dr Rashid Ahmed Bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water,  inaugurated the Agricultural Innovation Centre in Al Dhaid, Sharjah. The Centre will coordinate with top-notch international centres specialising in agricultural technologies through the execution of joint scientific research and partnership programmes and schemes to develop the country’s agricultural system.

Bin Fahad said the Agricultural Innovation Centre falls in line with UAE Vision 2021, which is inspired by the National Work Programme of President HH Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and aims to position the UAE as one of the world’s best countries by 2021.

The launch also complements the National Innovation Strategy recently unveiled by Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. This Strategy will strive to make the UAE one of the world’s most innovative countries in seven years by focusing on seven major sectors including renewable energy, technology and water.

Bin Fahad added that the Agricultural Innovation Centre is part of the Ministry’s strategy to enhance food safety in the country and promote the sustainability of local production. Amidst the growing technological developments in the agricultural sector such as the use of modern techniques and DNA profiling, he said it is imperative to keep the country’s research works on agriculture abreast of advanced science and technological developments in order to discover new dimensions of the local agricultural sector.

He said  the research industry is a key pillar of the country’s overall development, pointing out that the Centre is poised to promote the latest agricultural advancements and maintain the sector’s sustainability through the integration of innovation into the field of agricultural research.

While touring the new Centre, Bin Fahad checked the projects, research and modern technologies and examined their compatibility with the country’s climate conditions and limited supply of irrigation water. He was also briefed on the ongoing research about greenhouse and hydroponic systems development as well as the experiments conducted to cultivate quinoa.

Following last year’s successful experimental results, the Ministry of Environment and Water is planning to expand the cultivation area for quinoa to introduce the farmers to its uses and benefits. This will pave the way for the integration of quinoa, which is being used in many food industries as it offers lucrative economic returns and has the ability to grow in hot and dry climates.

The Agricultural Innovation Centre encourages innovations to maintain food sustainability and drive sustainable agricultural development. This is in line with its vision of implementing modern technological innovations in the agricultural sector to promote a sustainable industry given the available resources. The Centre’s mission revolves around employing local and international expertise to establish sustainable agricultural development in the country.

The Centre further aims to reinforce research in various agricultural applications and segments, including modern innovative technologies, to address the numerous requirements and challenges of modern agriculture. It aims to promote cooperation and exchange of expertise among concerned local authorities and relevant regional and international research centres in the UAE and the rest of the world.

It will also collaborate with international organisations, authorities and industry experts, namely the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations and the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Area (ICARDA). The Centre will cooperate with the International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), as well as participate in various joint studies covering local agricultural segments, such as a study on the effects of multiple levels of salinity on the production of some salinity-tolerant agricultural and pastoral crops.

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