While Sustainable Agriculture forms an important part within the ‘Food Security Strategies’ laid down by the UAE government, Sustainable Farming is becoming a boosting factor towards the crop producing capacity of the country. It is the vision of the ‘Sustainable Future’ that makes the United Arab Emirates depend on technology to increase production and productivity by incorporating various resilient technology backed agricultural practices.
CEA is a technology based approach that involves the efficient use of high-end food production techniques managing agricultural inputs in a way that maximizes the output. Here, entrepreneurs from the agriculture industry collaborate with government bodies and provide tangible solutions promoting CEA thereby creating a conducive environment for innovative technologies in the entire ecosystem.
Statistics from Abu Dhabi
Earlier this July, 2020, Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince, Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, met agricultural entrepreneurs during his visit to some local farms. He had tweeted thus, “I was pleased to meet some of the UAE’s aspiring agricultural entrepreneurs who are pioneering sustainable & resilient farming practices using modern technology. Innovation in this sector is key to our food security goals, and our country’s diversified economic growth.” With the aim to push local production of crops, livestock, and support agricultural industry, the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority in June provided approx. $174 million to 30,632 breeders as well as farmers, 138,000 families, 259 commercial animal farms and small-scale producers in Abu Dhabi.
AgTech – the Agriculture Technology
AgTech or the Agriculture Technology is the adoption of technology in agriculture. It is the advanced agricultural methods based on digital technology. Agriculture Technology is seen as a prominent solution provider to the UAE’s food security issues, thereby reducing the ninety percent of food imports and focus on local production. As per a market research from verified source, the application of Robotics technology like Drones or Robots in agricultural field will set to reach $11.58 billion by the year 2025.
Types of Agriculture technology
It emphasizes on the use of technology reducing the consumption of fresh water in agriculture. Fish is considered as a major source of protein in the UAE. Aquaculture technology enhances marine resources. It employs one of the world’s advanced production system like BioReactors that produce Microalgae up to one billion cells per ml (mili liter) as compared to the conventional system which produces a mere about 40 million cells per ml. Besides, the RAS (water recycle /reuse system) is used to recycle water from various fish tanks. It ensures a reduced fresh water consumption and better agricultural practice in the country facing water shortage.
- Vertical Farming – Hydroponics & Aeroponics
Vertical Farming is considered as a major solution provider to the UAE’s food security issues. Under this kind of farming, plants are grown indoors, i.e. in an indoor environment where plants are grown in the form of vertically stacked layers and certain environment factors are effectively controlled. These kinds of farms are also called Vertical Farms. The surprising part of this is that there is no need for sunlight, soil or chemicals. The technology involves an artificial light, temperature control & humidity regulation methodology. The output is the huge production of vegetables throughout the year. Moreover, the use of pesticides is very, very less.
Aeroponics & Hydroponics are the two types of vertical farming using latest technology models as mentioned above.
- Remote Controlled Drones
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are actually the remote-controlled drones used in the agriculture sector. What is its use? Well, it does the MAPPING of the farming areas all over the country. It is helping indeed in locating lands conducive to farming. It helps creating a rather accurate agriculture database contributing to the decision making process in determining proper use of resources and areas suitable for crop growth. It is a GPS guided drones used for livestock monitoring, 3Dmapping of lands and crop spraying.
- AI based Sensor technology enabling irrigation
AI based Sensor helps farmers in tracking information about crops- health. Sensor helps to monitor temperature around crops, the humidity level, the soil water content, etc. thus leveraging the irrigation sector helping farmers a great deal.
- GPS enabled tractors
Yes, there are tractors equipped with an automated steering system & GPS facility. This unique combination helps in mapping land, positioning in the right place, optimizing seeds placement, reducing the waste probability as well as costs incurred.
- Mobile Technology
Farmers use smart phones and tablets. They are connected to the Internet technology and use inbuilt mobile apps dedicated to the agriculture farming. The mobile apps help farmers in getting accurate information regarding field status, minute-to-minute weather updates, , buying, selling several farm equipment, etc. BonApp , a Dubai based app is an example helping in tackling food wastes in the supply-chain process.
- Smart Farming
Last but not the least, Smart Farming is the application of varied technologies that help in farming, irrigation activities and many more. In fact, it uses the power of internet, internet integrated tools like IOT, and other automated farm machineries.
Sun, Sand, Sea, Technology
The country has three significant natural resources – the three S – Sun, Sand, and Sea. While utilizing them at the best, technology is playing a key role in revamping the face of agriculture sector in the UAE. The current pandemic has created disruptions in the supply-chain ecosystem no doubt, but that is only acting as a trigger for building food capabilities using enhanced technology in the agriculture sector – AI based sensors, biotechnology, genetic engineering, and many more.
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