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Farm support.

Forty emiratis owning farms in Abu Dhabi took part in a seminar in the capital to discuss the Zrie programme which was launched recently to support their efforts to advance agricultural production.

Ahmed Khalfan Al Romaithi, head of the programme, said the initiative was launched on the directives HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. The programme delivers financial support from the Khalifa Fund and, in collaboration with the Farmers' Centre, provides comprehensive training programme to raise output in a sustainable manner.

Al Romaithi said agriculturists were being encouraged to use the latest technology and non-traditional methods to reduce water consumption.

The fund will help farmers to switch over to hydroponic farming, he said.

"The hydroponic system contributes significantly in reducing the negative effects of weather and soil problems," said Basem Al Khawaldha, an official at the Farmer's Centre. He added that the national objective was to reduce agricultural imports and foster food security. Local agriculturists will be trained on topics including greenhouses, salinity and irrigation.

"The Khalifa Fund will facilitate quantitative and qualitative agricultural production," said Khawaldha.

The fund bestows a loan up to Dh1 million ($272,000) with no interest, a grace period and a flexible schedule of repayment over 60 months.

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Publication:Gulf Industry
Date:Oct 3, 2013
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