Name Abu Dhabi Farmer Services Centre
GGN 4052852715195 Website http://www.adfsc.ae/ar/Pages/home.aspx
Country United Arab Emirates

Profile

HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, late ruler of the UAE and father of the nation, had a unique vision for the UAE. Sheik Zayed believed that agriculture, which was already an integral part in the lives of his people, was to be encouraged so that farmers would have a viable means of supporting their families. Following on this vision, HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the UAE, signed into law the formation of the Abu Dhabi Farmers' Services Centre whose mandate it is to implement best agricultural practices that can be adopted globally, achieving the foundations of sustainable agriculture, improving the productivity of local farms and achieving self-sufficiency for farmers. ADFSC's role is to work with farmers in order to improve productivity, modernize agricultural systems and innovate agricultural marketing programs through its services, training, marketing and technologies making agriculture more profitable in the emirate of Abu Dhabi by covering 24,000 farms.

Why GLOBALG.A.P. in the Emirates?

Implementation of GLOBALG.A.P. was among the priorities of the Abu Dhabi Farmers’ Services Centre new initiatives for the farming sector. The determination is to make sure that the farming system achieves maximum sustainability and profitability, while also focusing on consumer safety, social responsibility and environmental protection. Abu Dhabi Farmers’ Services Centre (ADFSC) has launched an initiative to provide the safe food to the consumers in UAE through the implementation of GLOBALG.A.P. Standard. The overall objective is to make local produce more competitive and to instill confidence in the consumer about the quality of local produce. To achieve the overall objective, ADFSC established G.A.P./ Farm Assurance Unit with the purpose to build local technical capacity of ADFSC needed to assist farmers in the pursuit of fulfilling the GLOBALG.A.P. requirements to conform to the existing and emerging quality standards in the existing local market as well as set the stage for future interventions and development of the agriculture sector.

The specific qualitative objectives were to:

  • Increase the ADFSC’s capacity to address quality issues in general and GLOBALG.A.P. requirements in particular.
  • Design and implement an IPM based plant protection program targeted at all farms registered in producer group.
  • Train farmers, farm manager/supervisor and farm workers on health safety, personal and harvesting hygiene.
  • Increase farmers' awareness of GLOBALG.A.P. requirements and the importance of quality improvement measures in the marketability of produce.
  • Improve farm infrastructure to meet the requirement of GLOBALG.A.P. farm assurance standard.
  • Developing localg.a.p. to meet the emerging quality standard of local market on priority basis.
  • Develop new and strengthen existing marketing links to wholesale and retail outlets by providing modern, efficient supply chain services, including the packaging and marketing of produce.
  • Enhance the image and appeal of locally grown produce - “The Local Harvest”.
  • Ensure the supply of safe food and traceability from producers to consumers.
 

Achievements

1. ADFSC provides on-farm advisory and technical services, farm necessary inputs to more than 4,000 registered farms as well as the necessary inputs to help farmers, grow larger volumes of better quality crops, which, in turn, leads to increased incomes. For and on behalf of farmers, ADFSC handles farm produce from more than 4,000 farms and supply under the brand name of “LOCAL HARVEST”. Local Harvest products are available at major retail chains throughout the UAE as well as ADFSC’s Souq stores. Over the last four years, ADFSC added value to the local produce by 3 percent, making it the first choice of consumers. http://localharvest.ae

2. Keeping in mind the environment and biodiversity, ADFSC introduced new improved technologies like bio-pollinators and advanced crop protection technologies. ADFSC efforts include crop diversification by introducing new water saving and pest resistance verities/cultivars having high rate of adoption and more than 20-40 percent high yields.

3. Abu Dhabi Farmers’ Services Centre is a member of GLOBALG.A.P. and is the only organization in the region holding a GLOBALG.A.P. Certificate for and on behalf of 39 farm owners in the sub-scope of fruit and vegetable. 69 more farm owners are expected to get GLOBALG.A.P. Certification before the end of August 2014. 100 more farms are targeted to get GLOBALG.A.P. certification in 2015.

4. Primary Farm Assurance is a concept suited to our local farming situation. Over 200 farms are now registered for the ADFSC managed Primary Farm Assurance (PFA) program. The program prioritized the requirements of the GLOBALG.A.P. Standard beginning with the most important aspects - food safety, enhance biodiversity and pesticide management. Over 100 farms in Abu Dhabi have now progressed through the PFA approach and eventually reached to the level that fully comply with the GLOBALG.A.P. IFA Standard. ADFSC has a few strong targets for the next five years, planning to register up to 1,500 farms in the program. Regionally, Abu Dhabi is doing very well and is in a good position to supply certified products to the retail market. Currently Oman only has one and Saudi Arabia has three farm certified to GLOBALG.A.P.

5. On the socio-environmental side, there are a number of benefits from compliance with GLOBALG.A.P. Certification. It is expected that adoption would assure produce markets and higher prices as well as timely payment by the ADFSC, retailers, and traders/exporters. It is also evident that implementation of GLOBALG.A.P. at the farm level increased quality of production and reduced the amount of buyer/consumer rejection.

6. Empowerment of the farmer/producer (in groups) to make on-site specific decisions regarding crop management to meet challenges of quality requirement is the key success factor in ADFSC PFA approach. The other benefits include reduction of production costs due to less and rational use of pesticides and other synthetic chemicals. Moreover, sustainable and improved produce quality and yields is consequential to improve farm incomes and reduce probability of developing resistance to pesticides by the existing pests.

7. Under GLOBALG.A.P., agro-chemicals are stored and handled by trained individuals hence farm owners and workers will have better health and safety. In addition, G.A.P. certificate holders express pride in the neatness of their farms compared to pre-compliance implementation or un-registered farm.

8. Some salient achievements of ADFSC GLOBALG.A.P. registered Producer Group are:

a)     All produce members agreed to the ADFSC environment and biodiversity procedure. Producer Group contributed to decrease the degradation of natural resources by keeping a green belt of wild vegetation, ensure judicious use of irrigation water, agro-chemicals and other natural resources.

b)     Producer Group members installed pesticide store cabinet complying the standard of GLOBALG.A.P.

c)     Contributed in the sustainability of environment and reduction in health hazards to pesticides users and consumers through rationalizing of pesticides through training, awareness and implementations of the ADFSC approved pesticide-handling procedure. As a result, 98 percent of the plant protection product applicators consistently understood pesticide labels, 100 percent workers wore personal protective equipment, and 100 percent regularly stored pesticides safely.

d)     Regular check and control on Pesticides Maximum Residual Limit (MRL), implementation of pre-harvest intervals, and no-entry interval ensuring the safety of farm workers, food handlers, consumers and guarantee the quality of the products.

e)     The group members improved the farm infrastructure and facilities, managed farm and other disposable waste generated on the farm, ensuring clean toilets, baths and hand-washing facilities to workers resulted better hygiene conditions on the farms.

f)      Women and youth are integral in the ADFSC production chain. ADFSC campaign “Local Harvest” as fresh, hygienic and safe produce in Abu Dhabi Schools. ADFSC involving youth in number of healthy activities like sports and group dynamic activities.

g)     In ADFSC producer group under GLOBALG.A.P. Option 2, women are directly involved in farming system. 16 female farm owners are the group members who were very recently recommended by the certification body for GLOBALG.A.P. Certification.

h)     The dry desert climatic conditions in the Abu Dhabi Emirate make water management essential. The ADFSC uses two different methods to manage irrigation: 1) Irrigation Schedules calculated before planting and 2) Soil moisture sensors. The irrigation schedules are calculated based on average weather data using the FAO methodology and utilizing the FAO’s CROPWAT software. These irrigation schedules are calibrated by the soil moisture sensors. However, as there is almost no rain in the desert, the average weather data is usually very close to the actual conditions, hence only small calibrations are necessary. On some farms ADFSC does not only use the irrigation schedules but also the soil moisture sensors as an active management tool.

9. In summary, G.A.P. certification brings recognition, preferred supplier status, enhanced reputation and income aptness to certified farms and farm owners of Abu Dhabi. The GLOBALG.A.P. registered producers in Abu Dhabi implementing good agriculture practices at farms built their capacities and developed their skill, especially targeted farm owners, managers and workers with spill over benefits to other nearby farms, which created demand for the produce within local customers; fetched better prices, reduced production cost due to less use of pesticides and other agro-chemicals, contributed toward biodiversity management. The farm owners are highly keen and enthusiastic to implement the GLOBALG.A.P. Standard in Abu Dhabi to ensure food safety, improve environment and farm workers health, hygiene and safety.