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Utico unveils new sustainable farm support programme

DUBAI, March 22, 2017

UAE-based Utico, a leading private utility in the Middle East, has unveiled a new sustainable farm support programme, the key elements of which includes free water supply to the UAE farmers, guaranteed buy-back of their produce and scientific advisory services.

The programme was rolled out at a recent event held by the Environment Protection and Development Authority (EPDA), Ras Al Khaimah, to mark the International Day of Happiness on March 20, and it also supported the `Year of Giving Initiative’ launched by the President HH Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

“The programme is very much in line with ensuring happiness of farmers and will contribute to the UAE’s food security initiatives,” said Dr Saif Al Ghais, director general of EPDA at the event attended by many farmers.

In its first phase, the programme will span the Northern Emirates catering to an estimated 3,000 farms across Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Qwain, Ajman and Sharjah, said a statement from the company.

Utico said the free water supply and farm support initiatives will be extended to other emirates in the second phase.

Richard Menezes, managing director of Utico, said: “The programme will address the water supply issues, and the expert advisory Utico will provide will help farmers increase production through incorporating scientific farming methods that are found to work well in arid conditions.”

“We are already working with Federal Electricity and Water Authority (FEWA) and Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA). The programme can be implemented in any farm location where these networks are available and accessible,” he added.

Under the programme, farmers will be categorised into two sections - farms owned and tilled and commercial farms. These sections will be subdivided further to ensure maximum effectiveness, it added.

There are two programme options - free water with produce buy-back, or water purchase which starts with the lowest water tariff in the UAE of 1.8fils/gallon.

Menezes added: “Farmers who support and sustain the foundation of food chain in a society need to be supported and encouraged.”

Utico’s programme will help farmers increase produce, reduce or remove subsidy on the state and increase the farmers’ income, it stated.  
 
The service will be provided with mutual consents of all parties and can be accessed by farmers by sending a mail to a sustainFarm@Utico.com, it said.
 
“In a water scarce and starved region as the UAE, it becomes all the more important that in the `Year of Giving,’ and on the occasion of the International Day of Happiness, we should focus more on the happiness of farmers,” he concluded. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: | Farm | support | programme | sustainable | Utico |

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