The Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA) issued a decision specifying the economic plant and animal activities on agricultural lands, based on ADAFSA's Board of Directors Resolution No. (3) of 2023 issued recently regarding the practice of economic activities on farms, which include 71 economic activities that can be practiced on agricultural lands.

Hamid Ali Al Shamsi, Director of the Policies and Regulatory Affairs Division stated that this decision complements ADAFSA's Board of Directors Resolution No. (3) of 2023 regarding the exercise of economic activities on farms. These include holiday homes to support the tourism sector and promote the UAE's rich heritage, in addition to other activities that support the agricultural sector in its plant, animal and food aspects, thus contributing to the promotion of sustainable agricultural development.

Hamid Ali Al Shamsi stated that ADAFSA's Board of Directors Resolution No. (3) of 2023 is based on the requirements of public interest and aligns with the ADAFSA's strategy to support farms, benefiting farm owners through the establishment of licensed activities that are economically feasible. This also contributes to enhancing agricultural sustainability, achieving ADAFSA's objectives in reaching food security, and generally supporting the economic development of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Al Shamsi added that the decision specified plant activities and conditions for obtaining a license for plant economic activity in the farm that requires planting a minimum of 25 per cent of the farm area to practice one of the plant production activities, such as planting fruit trees (at the rate of one fruit tree per 40 square metres), open field vegetables with winter and summer crops throughout the agricultural season with two rotations, palm trees at the rate of one palm tree per 100 square metres, or growing vegetables in greenhouses (mesh, plastic or glass) with an area of not less than 10 per cent of the farm's total area. Alternatively, fodder crops may be grown up to a maximum of 40 per cent of the total area, not to exceed 10 dunums, provided that animals are kept, except in the case of farms irrigated with recycled water.

Hamid Ali Al Shamsi also clarified that in terms of plant activities, the decision permits the combination of the activities mentioned above, provided that the minimum required spaces are adhered to.

In cases where water scarcity or salinity exceeds 10.000 ppm precludes plant production, the decision permits animal production activities. Farms in this situation can obtain licenses for raising sheep, camels, cows, poultry (open or closed systems), or land-based aquaculture (fish and crustaceans), all subject to species approval by ADAFSA and a requirement for their presence on the farm.

The decision emphasises the importance of complying with all requirements necessary to carry out agricultural and economic activities on farms in accordance with existing legislation. Farm owners are encouraged to submit license applications through the Abu Dhabi Government Services Platform TAMM.

ADAFSA's Board of Directors Resolution No. (3) of 2023 regarding the practice of economic activities on farms, is the result of the collaborative efforts of the committee for the Determination of Economic Activities on Agricultural Lands. This committee, formed under the guidance of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office and led by the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority, includes representatives from the Department of Economic Development - Abu Dhabi, the Department of Municipalities and Transport, and the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi. The committee worked to maximise the use of agricultural land and diversify the options of projects that can be established on farms, in addition to regulating and facilitating the practice of recreational and tourism activities on farms, making the farm a successful investment project and an educational, recreational and heritage experience in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.