Her Excellency Maryam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Al Muhairi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, has attended a ceremony to honour the winners of its first edition of the Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Agricultural Excellence Award 2023.

The ceremony, held at the Sheikh Zayed Festival in Al Wathba, was attended by Sheikh Ahmed bin Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Agricultural Club, Chairman of the Emirates Kiteboarding Committee and the Emirates Sup and Surf Committee, His Excellency Dr Mughir Khamis Al Khaili, Chairman of the Department of Community Development – Abu Dhabi, His Excellency Saeed Al Bahri Al Ameri, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority, and His Excellency Humaid Saeed Al Neyadi, Director of the Private Office of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice Chairman of the Supreme Organising Committee of the Sheikh Zayed Festival, in addition to a number of officials and dignitaries.

The organising committee yesterday announced 50 winners of the award out of a total of 348 participants from different emirates of the country who competed in the three main categories of the award, including 227 participants who competed in the plant category, compared to 121 participants who competed in the animal category. The Higher Organising Committee of the Award will promote the agricultural practices of the winners with the aim of transferring knowledge and exchanging expertise on best agricultural practices that enhance agricultural sustainability and food security in the UAE.

His Excellency Saeed Al Bahri Al Ameri said: "I am delighted to attend the closing ceremony of the first session of the Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Agricultural Excellence Award and to honour the winners of its valuable prizes, including farmers, breeders, commercial farms and outstanding innovators."

He expressed his pride in the award, which has the support and patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Presidential Office and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority, and his great confidence that it will be a source of goodness and giving to all those interested in the agricultural sector and food production in various emirates and the region.

He said: "The Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Agricultural Excellence Award is a sincere expression of our wise leadership's interest in the agricultural renaissance in the UAE, and confirms its keenness to encourage creativity and innovation, and to rely on the development of knowledge and excellence as a basis for progress and enhance the status of agriculture to diversify sources of national income, in addition to positive changes that bring us all good and progress to be a pioneer and leader in the field of agricultural innovation in the world.

"Today, as we announce the conclusion of the first edition of the Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Agricultural Excellence Award, we remember in our minds and hearts the pioneer of the blessed march, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, as we sought to inaugurate and conclude the events of the award from the festival that bears His Highness' name, to emphasise that the "Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Agricultural Excellence Award" is a good extension of the great achievements and contributions that the late Sheikh made to the UAE, its honourable sons and the whole world. "

He pointed out that the first edition of the award succeeded in attracting a large constellation of distinguished farmers, livestock breeders, commercial farms, beekeepers and honey producers in different emirates of the country, in addition to many productive families, bringing the total number of participants in the award and its related competitions to about 832 participants, as it became a wide field to showcase outstanding achievements and practices that contribute to finding innovative solutions in the field of agriculture and achieving food security.

His Excellency congratulated all the winners of the Agricultural Excellence Awards, praising their hard work and perseverance in this vital and important sector for our economy and society, and urging them to continue to innovate and dedicate themselves to the agricultural sector, improve productivity and quality levels, and continue to achieve success and excellence in the future.

He also thanked all the participants who were not lucky enough to win in this edition, as well as the organising committee and the evaluation teams from MOCCAE and ADAFSA for their great efforts, especially the field evaluation, during which they visited hundreds of crop and livestock farms in different regions of the country, from Al Sila in Abu Dhabi to Ras Al Khaimah.

He also extended his sincere thanks to all the supporters of the award, especially the Ministry of the Presidential Court, and the Higher Committee of the Sheikh Zayed Festival for their steady support to achieve the objectives of the Award and their keenness on its development. We will work together to continue the development to become the "Sheikh Mansour Agricultural Excellence Award" the leading international award in the field of sustainability and agricultural innovation.

Her Excellency Dr Maryam Hareb Al Suwaidi, Chairman of the Supreme Committee of the Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Agricultural Excellence Award and Deputy Director General of the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority for Operational Affairs, stressed that Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Agricultural Excellence Award reflects the UAE's wise vision in developing and sustaining the agricultural sector and enhancing food security.

She also confirmed the keenness of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Presidential Office and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority, to launch creative and stimulating initiatives to develop a sustainable agricultural sector. The award highlights the great efforts and continued dedication of local farmers and agricultural stakeholders, and the willingness of the leadership to recognise and reward these efforts.

She said: "We are proud of the wide and distinguished participation in the first edition of the Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Agricultural Excellence Award, as we were delighted to see the participation of 832 participants, including farmers, breeders, commercial farms, palm growers, beekeepers and aquaculture farmers, in addition to productive families, who competed in the categories of the award and its related competitions. 348 participants from different emirates of the UAE competed in the three categories of the award, including 227 participants who competed in the plant categories to select the best open field farm, the best greenhouse farm, the best fruit farm and the best organic farm.

“This is in addition to the best commercial plant farm and the best farm in agricultural innovation. In the livestock sector, 121 participants competed in the categories of best livestock farm and small producer in broiler production, best aquaculture farm, best beekeeper and best honey producer, as well as best commercial farm in livestock production and best farm in livestock production innovation. Today we will honour and congratulate the 50 outstanding winners who have made great efforts to develop their crop and livestock farms.”

She added that the 484 participants in the accompanying competitions were clear evidence of the commitment and interest of farmers and breeders in applying best agricultural practices, improving product quality and developing this vital sector. The positive competition among participants encourages continuous improvement, innovation and the spirit of perseverance and hard work among all actors and stakeholders in this important sector. The competition for prizes in various categories encourages farmers to hone their creative and developmental skills and further improve the quality of agricultural production, increase productivity and enhance our food security of the UAE.

Concluding her speech, she congratulated all the winners of the awards for agricultural excellence in crops, livestock and innovation for their remarkable achievements, pointing out that hard work, diligence and innovation in agriculture contribute significantly to meeting our food needs and improving our quality of life, in addition to achieving the agricultural sustainability desired by our wise leaders.

She said: "To those who are not fortunate, I say that you are making great and fruitful efforts in the field of agriculture, and this is an achievement and a great victory. For our part, we express our gratitude and appreciation for your efforts in serving this vital sector, because hard work and perseverance is the right way to achieve success, and most importantly, to continue to work, develop and innovate in the field of agriculture."

At the end of the ceremony, Her Excellency Maryam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Al Muhairi honoured the 50 winners in the presence of His Excellency Saeed Al Bahri Al Ameri.

Khalifa Suhail Al Mazrouei won first place in the Best Open Farm category for his success in implementing innovative solutions that help rationalise the use of natural resources and for growing rare and unique varieties of date palms using good agricultural practices. Meanwhile, Abdullah Mohammed Khwaidem won second place for his success in using clean energy to run the farm and his commitment to using good agricultural practices and biological pest control.

In the Best Greenhouse Farm category, Hassan Juma Al Zaabi won the first prize for adopting diverse productive practices with economic returns and for achieving appropriate productivity of high quality for various crops.

As for the Best Fruit Farm category, Sultan Saeed Al-Aryani won first place for his success in implementing practices that help to safely recycle waste, as well as productive activities with economic returns. He also has a unique numbering system for all palm trees planted with tags, in addition to the application of biosecurity standards and requirements.

Regarding the Best Organic Farm category, Rashid Sulayyem Al-Ketbi won first place for his success in adopting practices that help recycle agricultural waste and use it as organic fertiliser. He also adopts productive activities with an economic return that maintain sustainability and apply biosecurity requirements to prevent pests and enhance the role of biological control, in addition to participating in internal and external conferences and exhibitions that contribute to improving the level of the farm and creating different marketing channels to sell the farm's products.

Rashid Farhan Al-Kuwaiti won first place in the productive livestock farm category. His main strengths were the presence of a site for the collection of animal manure and its recycling for agricultural use after processing, and the presence of a special entrance for visitors to the sales service, separate from the farm's activities, which helps to strengthen the biosecurity system. He also has a community outreach through social media to share his breeding expertise with other breeders, while maintaining good records of herd management to help him provide good care for the herd, and an innovative system for spraying toxicants and disinfectants.

Ghanim Sultan Al Suwaidi won first place in the Small Producer category, for his implementation of modern and sophisticated feeding systems for buffaloes through the presence of a feed factory and local manufacturing and the use of dates and syrups in feeding processes, in addition to his ability to market livestock products through his own outlets.

Mr Al-Suwaidi is also keen to improve and develop the productivity of his tenure using artificial insemination by importing strains from leading countries in the field of genetic improvement of breeds reared on the farm.

As for the Best Beekeeper category, Fadel Nasser Al-Saadi won first place for his ability to produce large quantities of honey in several seasons, such as Sidr, Ghaf and Samar, where the hive production rate reaches 20 kg per year, in addition to the excellent equipment inside the apiary, such as cold stores and equipment for preserving honey, packaging and removing moisture, and his commitment to implementing a clear action plan before the beginning of the different honey seasons.

Hamed Ahmed Al-Hamid won first place in the Agricultural Plant Innovation category, for his ability to find innovative solutions to the challenges of agriculture in general, as the innovative agricultural system he is using is in line with the UAE's goals and directions in the agricultural field, which is a modern and unconventional innovation based on the most advanced international practices with a plan to expand the scope of the easy-to-use innovation.

Regarding the category of innovation in animal production, Salem Hariz Al-Rashedi won first place for creating investment opportunities in the livestock sector by coordinating with ADAFSA to purchase camel meat from Al Khaznah slaughterhouse, which had a great impact on the development of the meat industry in the emirate.

The same breeder also managed to create new food products from camel meat that were unique locally, including "mortadella" camel meat, and succeeded in marketing them as the revenue from camel meat products amounted to 2,055,000 dirhams.

Mr Al-Rashedi attended training courses to promote the concept of innovation through scientific centres such as the Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Government Innovation, as well as a risk management course with two of his employees, which helped to increase the team's knowledge of how to manage the risks involved.

Pure Harvest Farm was awarded first place in the category of commercial plant production farms, for its excellence in using a range of state-of-the-art systems to monitor the status of the crops grown, such as the modern irrigation system, cooling system, humidity and temperature monitoring system, in addition to fertilisation systems and a range of operational plans for all agricultural activities.

In addition to developing the skills of farm workers, the farm grows unique tomato products and varieties with high production efficiency and holds several global certifications such as Global G.A.P. and the adoption of international standards in various health and safety procedures.

As for the Commercial Livestock Farm category, Al Ajban Poultry Farms won first place for adopting outstanding practices that contribute to sustainability and implementing practices and systems that limit resource consumption.

The company is also committed to adopting a clear approach to biosecurity to prevent pests and diseases on the farm, and to using artificial intelligence in production processes to reduce waste in the weight of the final product and improve product quality.