United Arab Emirates - Agriculture
Only about 81,000 hectares (200,000 acres) of land are cultivated. About 24% of cultivated land is used to grow vegetables, 30% fruit, 10% feed crops, and 36% for other uses. The most productive region is Ra's al-Khaimah, which receives underground water supplies from the nearby mountains of Oman and which enjoys the most plentiful rainfall. The main crops are tomatoes, melons, and dates.
The Digdagga Agricultural Trials Station in Ra's al-Khaimah is central to all agricultural research and training efforts in the UAE. Abu Dhabi has two large wheat farms at Al 'Ayn, and experimental farms at Rawaya and Mazaid (near Al 'Ayn) are designed to encourage local Bedouins to take up settled farming. The Abu Dhabi Arid Land Research Center on Sadiyat Island produces vegetables through special irrigation and hydroponic techniques. In 1999, UAE agriculture produced 1,055,000 tons of vegetables and melons, and 358,000 tons of fruit. Produce includes citrus, mangos, tomatoes, celery, potatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, melons, peppers, and fodder crops.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries reported a 48% increase in vegetable production between 1992 and 1995. Dates, traditionally grown on oases by nomads, are becoming less important because of vegetable and fruit production. In 1999, the UAE produced 295,000 tons of dates. The UAE currently satisfies about 60% of its domestic fruit and vegetable demand; bans on imports of certain vegetables and government incentives and subsidies are used to encourage domestic production. Roses and chrysanthemums are grown for export to Europe.