Union Coop Supports Local Agriculture with AED44 Million in Purchases
Union Coop- Dubai revealed that the value of local agricultural products it purchased last year amounted to about AED44 million, with an expected rise of 25-30% this year. The largest cooperative in the UAE pointed out that the supporting and encouraging local agriculture is one of its main objectives to reach a sustainable agricultural environment and enhance food security.
Speaking of the Union Coop’s role in adopting and supporting local farmers, Yaqoob Al Balooshi, Fresh Foods Purchase Manager at the Union Coop, pointed out that Union Coop urges farmers to develop local farms, and organizes several workshops and development lectures to improve the quality and quantities of crops. The Union Coop also strive to ensure the quality of products and meeting international standards. He noted that since 2007, the cooperative has been searching for local producers of agricultural crops, in collaboration with the Ministry of Climate Change, in order to buy and market their crops through its outlets in Dubai. The Union Coop is trying hard to facilitate procedures and contracts with farmers of organic food, and pays their financial dues faster compared to other suppliers.
He added that the cooperative allocates Free of Cost spaces for the farmers to display these products, and it also promotes organic products, hydroponic, and other local products through its outlets for a number of farms in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, and Ras Al Khaimah.
Al Balooshi also noted that the Union Coop has adopted comprehensive plans to increase production. Representatives visit farms regularly to follow up on inputs and production lines. It also holds regular meetings and lectures to farmers in order to educate them about recent best global practices in agriculture. These efforts aim to direct production to address consumer demand. He pointed out that the cooperative also holds workshops and training courses for farmers in collaboration with the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, in order to encourage them to invest in the field of organic food production.
The UAE has seen a remarkable development in all sectors, especially agriculture. This is the result of the wise government’s keenness to build solid sustainable plans to ensure the happiness of future generations.
Furthermore, Al Balooshi highlighted the wise leadership’s awareness and insightful vision about the importance of agriculture, self-sufficiency, and utilizing technology to create a sustainable environment. This vision is driven by firm belief that local agriculture has the potentials to meet all the needs of the community and providing food security which is one of the main bases of successful communities.
A Quantum Leap
He pointed out that the world stands in respect for the agriculture development in the UAE. Until recently the UAE had depended on imported products, but today many kinds of fresh products are produced locally. UAE now produces about 45-50 various kinds of high-quality vegetables and fruit which meet European standards, in addition to using modern techniques to reduce water consumption.
He pointed out that the desert turned into a productive arable land, thanks to the wise leadership’s directives and unlimited support to the agriculture sector and farmers. Many competent authorities commit great efforts to support the farmers through providing them with suitable platforms in in related fairs and events.
Concluding, Al Balooshi said “as consumers, we also have to support local products through purchasing them, which contributes to achieving a sustainable economy. Supporting local products contributes to the success and prosperity of our beloved nation.”