Abu Dhabi farmers get AED100K to save water
Abu Dhabi asks farmers to save water in return for annual stipend. Precious de Leon wonders if there’s a long term solution beyond plugging the problem with money.
May 10, 2011 12:24 by Precious de Leon
Abu Dhabi will pay farmers 100,000AED per year to stop wasting water…or as a Reuters report put it “to refrain from water-intensive cultivation in the Gulf emirate.”
The farmers will receive the so called ‘grant’, in addition to other aid, beginning in August.
Now before you go on about this being a freebee, the stipend will only be given to farmers who follow rules and regulation of water resources. In particular, they’ll need to stop cultivating Rhodes grass, which is generally used as feed for grazing animals.
Erm, okay it’s not an iron clad condition really. Farmers who also raise animals are still permitted to cultivate the feeds in a limited area for “feeding their privately owned livestock” while still having access to the money.
What does the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority have to say about this? Well, Mohamed Jalal al-Reyaysa, head of communication and community service for ADFCA says, “the conditions tied to the disbursal of government assistance will raise the bar on farming practices in the emirate in terms of profitability and environmental soundness.
Now the Reuters article said Abu Dhabi is estimated to consume 550 litres of water per person per day—two to three times the world average of 180-200 litres. So of course this is a welcome move towards less water wastage.
But Kipp can’t help but think this is a short-term plug to a long-suffering environmental problem. We wonder whether there will be any action taken toward educating farmers as to why they need to change their ways, outlining the environmental impact of wasting water and how saving water will eventually benefit them and their way of life. We’re sure somebody at ADFCA is up to speed on this…well pretty sure…we hope.
There are about 25,000 farms in Abu Dhabi.