Named after His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President of the UAE, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Presidential Court, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA), the second edition of the Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Agricultural Excellence Award has been launched.

Organised by ADAFSA, the award aims to stimulate growth in crop and livestock agricultural sectors, while also recognising outstanding farmers and livestock breeders in the UAE. The award will highlight their crucial role in achieving agricultural sustainability, UAE food security and elevating the quality of local production. Additionally, it aims to foster a spirit of positive competition among farmers and livestock breeders.

With prizes totalling more than AED10 million, the award's second cycle encompasses various categories, including main award categories, several activities associated with the Sheikh Zayed Festival in Al Wathba, as well as various other festivals organised within the award.

Her Excellency Dr Mariam Hareb Al Suwaidi, Deputy Director General for Operational Affairs and Chairman of the Higher Organising Committee of the Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Agricultural Excellence Award, emphasised that the programme continues to receive support from His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who deeply believes in the significance of the agriculture and animal wealth sector.

The initiative is in line with His Highness’ dedication to encourage and honour distinguished farmers, livestock breeders, and commercial farms across the UAE. Moreover, it aims to promote agricultural innovation, both in crop and livestock sectors, and encourage the adoption of best agricultural practices.

This year, the award introduces a new category, adding to the existing nine festivals and 62 competitions associated with the award. The award is divided into four main categories.

The first category features eight sub-category awards for distinguished farmers and breeders, with four given to crop production-related sub-categories, including the Best Farm in Open Field Cultivation, the Best Farm in Greenhouse Cultivation, the Best Farm in Fruit Production, and the Best Organic Farm. The other four sub-category awards will be given to animal production-related sub-categories, including Productive Farm, Small-Scale Producers, Beekeepers, and Aquatic Farms.

The Agricultural Innovation Category features two awards, the first for crop production and the other for animal production. Meanwhile, the Commercial Farms Category features two awards, one for commercial animal production, and the other for commercial crop production.

For the award's second edition, a new category was introduced to recognise exceptional women in agriculture. This fourth category is dedicated to honouring the best distinguished woman farmer and breeder, with two awards: one for the Best Distinguished Farmer and the other for the Best Distinguished Breeder. The aim is to support and recognise women's significant role and efforts in agriculture, which contribute to enhancing the food security system.

In addition to the main award categories, this year's edition includes various associated contests, such as the best product of dates, best manufacturing products from palm, best fruit basket of the house, best fig basket, and best Sidr fruits competitions. Additionally, there will be a live cooking competition, a contest for the best animal and marine food processing, a competition for the best dairy product, livestock competitions, and an awareness of promotional competition.

The award's activities will be complemented by diverse festivals, including the Fig Festival, Almond Festival, Strawberry Festival, Sidr Festival, Corn Festival, Local Aquaculture Farms Products Festival (Our Farms Fish/Desert Fish), Traditional Food Festival for Productive Families, Agricultural Inputs Festival, and Dairy Products Festival – Factories Category, all organised within the Sheikh Zayed Festival in Al Wathba.

Registration will be open until November 2023, after which the technical and field evaluation phase will begin. Qualifying farms will be evaluated in person according to the criteria and conditions of the award, which were devised by a specialised technical committee of experts and technicians in crop and livestock agriculture, in addition to agricultural innovation.

The finalists will be announced after the preliminary evaluation results are approved, and the award ceremony to honour the winners will take place in February 2024, with the presence of all participants.

The Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Agricultural Excellence Award aims to emphasise the UAE's leading role in stimulating sustainable agriculture and innovation, and to highlight the keenness of the wise leadership to honour outstanding farmers and breeders. The award is also a tribute to ADAFSA's achievements in agricultural sustainability and food and biosecurity.

The inaugural award was well-received by farmers and other interested parties. Fifty participants won prizes in the first session, and 171 participants won prizes in the associated contests. In total, 832 participants from various emirates and GCC countries competed in the award and its associated contests.

In the first round of the award, a total of 348 participants from various emirates joined in the competition across the three main categories of the award. Out of the total number of participants, 227 competed in the crop category while 121 participated in the livestock category.

ADAFSA invites all small-scale farmers, breeders, and commercial farmers in the UAE to promptly register to participate in the Award through the registration form on the award’s website For any enquiries, individuals can contact the award organisers via 0542893389.