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Ministry rolls out initiatives to support organic farmers' market produce   

Gulf Today - 29 November, 2013

The UAE Ministry of Environment officials and organisers of Middle East’s only niche organic and natural products expo, MENOPE, on Wednesday said that an array of initiatives to support the growing organic sector in the UAE has paved way for increasing acceptance for locally grown produce among consumers.

Addressing a press conference on the 11th edition of MENOPE at the Dubai International Exhibition and Convention Centre to be held on Dec.3, ministry representatives and organisers said that the endeavour was to create higher visibility and marketing opportunities for a rising number of local farmers across the UAE.

Nadim Al Fuqaha, managing director of Global Links, the organisers of MENOPE 2013, said, “The results of the focused efforts of government bodies in the organic food space has seen the number of farms going up five times in a year in the UAE, a clear indication that the appeal for organic produce is on a phenomenal growth pace.”

According to experts, there are now 38 certified organic farms in the UAE as of August 2013 sprawling across 3905 hectares, a substantial increase from eight certified farms a year ago.

In a bid to encourage and support the spread of organic culture in the UAE, the Ministry of Environment offers agricultural inputs to these farmers at a half the price of the market value.

These inputs include organic fertilizers, certified organic seeds and pesticides, which are environment friendly.

He said ministry of environment was also in the process of creating a space for local farmers to exhibit and sell their produce within major malls in the UAE.

A dedicated organic market, which opened last year at Al Hamriya is also set to reopen in January 2014. Additionally, a marketing outlet for local organic produce will also open at the Global Village this year.

“These endevours of the government bodies go in sync with our efforts to open up the market for organic and natural products,” said Fuqaha, adding that this year MENOPE was coming with string participation from countries like India, Romania, Poland, Malaysia and the Philippines. Other participating countries include Italy, Japan, France, Bangladesh, South Africa, Canada, Ethiopia and the UAE.

The 11the edition of the show, which will open with over 125 exhibitors is endorsed by the Ministry of Environment and Water and Dubai.

It is supported by International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), ministries of agriculture of Philippines and Malaysia.
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