Local produce instrumental in bolstering food security - GulfToday

Local produce instrumental in bolstering food security


Workers collecting vegetables from a farm.

Jamil Khan, Senior Reporter

A local family in Filli Al Madam village have been maintaining a huge farm to preserve their culture of farming with the intention of transferring the knowledge to their next generation and playing their vital role in local food security.

“We are farming different varieties of vegetables like tomatoes, marrow, capsicum (bell pepper), cucumber, eggplant, ladyfinger, green peppers, lemon apart from various kinds of dates in our farm on a big scale and most importantly using natural resources and completely avoiding pesticides or chemicals in any stage,” said Hamad Khalifa Al Kabbi, the owner of the farm while talking to a group of media. They hosted a group of local journalists at their family farm to showcase the modified techniques of agriculture to producing 100 per cent natural vegetables.

The Al Kabbi family has been maintaining this farm for generations on a small scale but in 1997, his son took an interest in expanding the farm which is now spread over 40 acres. “We have a group of 16 farmers from Sindh, Pakistan and with their hard work we expanded our farm land and started growing many vegetables and varieties of dates on a bigger scale,” he said.

The Filli village, located in Al Madam area, is part of the Emirates of Sharjah and lies between the intersection of the Dubai-Hatta and Mleiha-Shwaib. Its population is around 6,000 people with 700-800 houses, three schools, a medical facility, police station, and a hypermarket among other things.

The majority of the adult population is working in the public sector while the literacy rate is high with the extraordinary attention of Sharjah Ruler His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.

“The agriculture season in the area is between August and May and we use the groundwater stored in a nearby dam after the seasonal rains in the emirate. We collect the rainwater from the ground and water our farms through the drip-system as it is not only cost-effective but also saves the water from being wasted,” Hamad Al Kabbi said.

In summer the farmers grow vegetables while in winter they produce fruits like melon, sweet melon, different kinds of berries as varieties of dates including Khalas, Fardh, Lulu, Khanizi, Sajai, Shakri, Sultana and Majdool being sold to wholesale markets from Dhs12 to Dhs30 per kilogramme. The farmers in this farm have adopted all natural methods and avoid any kinds of chemicals to provide 100 per cent natural produce.

Ajeeb Barahmani, a senior farmer, told The Gulf Today that he had been with Al Kabbi family for the last 17 years and that he belonged to District Daddu, Sindh, Pakistan. “My elder brother Jamal started the farming here and now he is in Pakistan. The opportunity given to us by Al Kabbi family here is not small. They allowed us to bring more workers from our village as today we have 16 people from the same village performing various duties in this farm,” he said.

“With our hard work, passion and knowledge of farming and most importantly the support from the family we developed this farm as a ‘small Sindh’ with the farming of local varieties of fresh produce,” he said.

Hamad Al Kabbi said that the workforce working with them are part of the family as they extend their full support to them and their hard work for producing an extraordinary amount of fresh produce in the farm.

The produce of vegetables and fruits from the farms is sold in the local markets of Sharjah and Dubai and that too instantly. “Our vegetables are fresh. There is no middle storage process. We have many clients from hypermarkets to wholesale who approach us for their needs and we are selling these on a much better price compared to imported produce,” said Hamad.

He also appreciated the Father of the Nation Sheikh Zayed and the local government’s initiatives towards the local population which made life easier and beneficial.

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