His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President and Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE, Minister of the Presidential Court and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA), has issued a decision to approve 71 economic activities that can be carried out on agricultural lands. The activities include recreational and tourism ventures, such as holiday homes to support the tourism sector and promote the UAE's ancient heritage, in addition to other activities that support the agricultural sector, both plant and animal and food activities, which contribute to promoting sustainable agricultural development and diversifying the sources of income of farm owners.
The list of economic activities that can be carried out on farms are listed under four categories, with 21 economic activities that support the plant sector, 24 activities related to the animal sector, 18 activities related to the food sector, and eight recreational activities, in particular holiday homes, all of which aim to support the tourism sector and promote the cultural development of the agricultural sector in Abu Dhabi.
ADAFSA has set the requirements and construction limit permissible for economic activities on agricultural lands to not exceed 30% of the total farm area, provided that there is a main licensed plant or animal activity on the farm, that the economic activities practiced are limited only to the farm owner, and that the trade licence must be issued in the name of the farm owner.
His Excellency Saeed Al Bahri Al Ameri, Director-General of ADAFSA, said: “The decision is the result of the efforts of the Committee for the Determination of Economic Activities on Agricultural Lands, formed under the directives of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office including the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development , 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.
"Agricultural lands in the emirate of Abu Dhabi are a thriving asset for the emirate and its owners. At ADAFSA, with the support of the wise leadership, we are working to maximise the value of this wealth and diversify the economic activities that can be carried out on farms to consolidate the food security system and increase local plant and animal production, in addition to promoting agri-tourism to benefit from the recreational activities available at many of the crop and livestock farms in the emirate of Abu Dhabi."
Al Ameri highlighted that there are many farms that offer a unique tourist experience and the regulation and licensing of economic activities in Abu Dhabi will boost agri-tourism. He said that government agencies will be concerned with regulating, licensing, classifying, controlling and inspecting the practice of economic activities on agricultural lands in accordance with the related legislation in force in the emirate.