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 Inside a 50-hectare organic farm in Abu Dhabi

A tour of the Al Rawafed Agriculture Organic Farm in Abu Dhabi makes you feel you are somewhere in the middle of lush tropical greenery and definitely not in the middle of a desert.

Spread over 50 hectares off Sweihan Road, 20km from the main island of Abu Dhabi, the farm is a verdant paradise with acres of banana plantations, corn, and fig fields, and netted farms growing tomatoes, bell peppers, lettuce, herbs and even a vineyard with five varieties of grapes.

Nearly 10 tonnes of fresh produce is picked, packed and sent to supermarkets and restaurants daily from this farm, making it one of the biggest local sources of organic products in the emirate.

Be it tomatoes, onions, aubergine (eggplant), sweet corn, herbs, potatoes, cabbage, lettuce or fruit like bananas, figs, melons, watermelons, and pomegranate – any organic dinner you rustle up at home could have well come from the Al Rawafed farm.

“We follow different kinds of farming methods here like a greenhouse, net farming, glass house as well as open field farming. The biggest challenge is, of course, to keep the crops alive without using pesticides,” Marius Pakker, managing director of the farm, told XPRESS.


Read More: http://bit.ly/2F3fvju

(A) rating from Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA)

Mawasim Hypermarket L.L.C is honored to be awarded a certificate of appreciation and receive an (A) rating from Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) on 13.12.2017, for the distinguished performance. We seek to establish a healthy lifestyle and security for the environment in the UAE, and to satisfy our consumers by developing our range of organic food and products in order to raise the standards of efficiency and high quality.

Organic, health-orientated food companies to carve out share of UAE market worth AED 154 million

Abu Dhabi: With an increasing importance being placed on health and lifestyle, especially in the UAE, organically sourced and healthy foods are becoming part of a staple diet.

Abu Dhabi Date Palm Exhibition opens door to on-site sales for publics

Local and international exhibitors seek to expand their reach at SIAL Middle East 2017.

Abu Dhabi: With an increasing importance being placed on health and lifestyle, especially in the UAE, organically sourced and healthy foods are becoming part of a staple diet.

According to numbers published by the Organic Trade Association, the estimate size for total organic market consumer sales for organic products in the UAE totals AED154Mil per year, making it the 38th largest market in the world.

On top of this, an increase in consumption of health and wellness products (6.6% CAGR), organic packaged food and beverages (9.8% CAGR), and organic packaged food consumption (9.8% CAGR) was predicted from the years 2015-2018, signalling a shift in consumer behaviour towards health-orientated foods.

Aiming to provide an ideal platform for local and international food manufacturers looking to expand into the lucrative industry of organic food products, SIAL Middle East will run from 12-14 December at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, and held in a strategic partnership with the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA), as part of the Abu Dhabi Food Festival and organized by the department of Culture and Tourism.

Recognising SIAL ME’s status as an expanding hub for industry professionals, Mawasim Organic, are set to showcase their full range of organic products.

Abdulnasser Alshamsi, CEO for Mawasim Organic said, “SIAL Middle East has provided a strong platform for the growing food, beverage and hospitality event in the MENA region, and we are looking forward to showcasing our organic fresh local farm produce from fruits, vegetables and herbs such as: sweet corn, cucumber, potato and mint.

Additionally, Mawasim Organic has a wide section of certified organic products such as cheese and dairy, butchery, bakery, grocery to health & beauty products.

“Mawasim has rapidly grown into a trusted local Emirati brand, carrying locally grown organic produce, harvested at Al Rawafed Organic Agricultural farm,” added Alshamsi.

New indoor organic market in Abu Dhabi worth visiting

Are you wondering where to refill your fridge with organic produce as the outdoor markets across Abu Dhabi are about to stop during summer?

Well, we just found a new place to visit in Abu Dhabi that will welcome a weekly indoor organic market.

Mawasim, a 100% organic farm based in Abu Dhabi – which is an EU certified organic farm – now display and sell their produce every Saturday at Boutique Mall on Al Reem Island from 11am to 3pm.

Located in the Abu Dhabi Emirate, this farm spreads across 55 hectares and produces more than 50 different types of vegetables and fruits including bananas, figs, cauliflower, kale, peppers, eggplants and so many more. They also grow different herbs such as basil, chervil, oregano, thyme, sage to name a few.


BOUTIQUE MALL

Al Reem Island

Every Saturday from 11am to 3pm


WHAT :

Mawasim Organic Market in Abu Dhabi sells a selection of locally grown organic produce from their farmers’ market in Abu Dhabi.

What does organic really mean and is it better for you?

The benefits are seemingly obvious. You wouldn’t voluntarily eat spoonful’s of chemicals so why opt for food that contains it? But other than keeping harmful toxins off your plate, eating organic means eating tastier food, having a more positive impact on the environment and even supporting small farms and independent businesses.

The concept of eating organic may seem like a modern-day trend created by the overly health-conscious, but in fact, the majority of historical agricultural practices was organic, just perhaps without being labelled as such. It wasn’t until the 20th century when new products started being incorporated into food production that weren’t grown naturally. This in turn led to the rise of an organic farming movement around the 1940s as a response to some people’s dismay at the industrialisation of the industry.

Even then, the awareness about consuming organic food for the benefit of people’s health and the environment was spreading. Ever since, the movement has grown, albeit slower than some would like, as more people become aware of the benefits, farmers cater to increasing demand and governmental authorities put standards in place for organic agricultural practice.


What does ‘organic’ mean?

The concept of organic produce refers to the growing of foodstuffs – whether that’s fruits, vegetables, eggs or even chickens – without the use of unnatural products that are deemed harmful.

Marius Pakker, the managing director of farms at local organic producer Mawasim, explains: “Organic [farming] follows rules that mean you’re not using any chemically manufactured pesticides or fertilisers for the growing of a product, meaning you’re limited to natural products which themselves should come from an organic source. For example, we use composted chicken manure, but even that can only come from farms that are organically certified. The chickens should have been fed on organically grown corn, and the seed of the corn should be from an organic source. So the whole process upstream and downstream should be organic in order to be able to call the chain organic.”

Along with the introduction of the mass production of food came the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides to control insects, pests and diseases, all in an effort for companies to decrease costs, increase production and thus increase profits.

But this came with drawbacks: the pesticides seep into the earth and groundwater, people end up consuming toxic chemicals and our food may become cheaper but not without first being ripped of all its nutrients and taste.

Organic producers like Mawasim are proving that this doesn’t have to be the case. Growing fruits and vegetables according to strict local and European requirements, they keep a high standard to ensure every step of the process meets the strict regulations.

“We have about 56 different products we’re growing at the farm,” Marius explains. “We start by buying all the seeds, which come from organic and non-GMO sources. Then we fertilise the land with organic compost. For the rest, we grow it in the same way that you would conventionally – the growing time is the same but we’re more limited here because fewer varieties are available and we have fewer possibilities to control diseases and pests.

“We grow most of the vegetables in structures with netting so that the insects can’t reach the plants and as such transmit diseases from one plant to another. We also grow in glasshouses and greenhouses to control the temperature.”
What’s more, Mawasim uses desalinated water so as not to use up vital groundwater reserves, and is using nature to its advantage.
 
“In the control of pests like insects that can harm the plants, we use ‘beneficial insects’. We have certain insects that transmit viruses from one plant to another but if you put ladybirds in the greenhouse they eat the bad insects. Two years ago we weren’t able to produce cucumbers due to insect attacks, but now we can produce it year round.

“We also use natural products like neem oil; the neem tree produces seeds that contain oil that is a natural pesticide.
“We also grow plants together – for example, in the case of eggplants, they are much more attractive for bad insects than say, bell peppers. So if we have bell peppers in the greenhouse we plant eggplants next to them so all the bad insects will go to the eggplants and not attack the bell peppers.”

Naturally though, these practices result in higher production costs, making organic foods more expensive for consumers, which Marius cites as one of the biggest potential obstacles for the organic industry.

The ultimate question then, is if consumers are willing to pay the price for their health and
the environment?

“There is of course a price difference between organic and conventionally grown, but it still remains a niche market,” Marius notes.
“People that are aware of health concerns and pay specific attention to healthy eating are eating [organic] more.
“There was a time when it was fashionable to buy organic, but I don’t really see that here; our clients are people who are aware of the risks of products being grown with chemicals and pesticides.

“The advantages, of course, are that you’re sure you’re not eating anything that could be contaminated with chemically-produced products, especially pesticides. There are a lot of side effects; more of these materials are being diagnosed as the cause of diseases, cancers and such. If you’re eating organic you know that you’re free of these residues.”

Shop organic 

 
Mawasim Organic Supermarket

This Abu Dhabi-based farm supplies organic produce to local supermarkets such as LuLu, Spinneys and Carrefour, or you can buy direct online or from the dedicated supermarket on Al Khaleej Al Arabi Street, near Abu Dhabi CoOp. Daily 9am-10pm. And don’t miss the roopftop organic market at The Mall at WTCAD hosted daily from 1pm to 9pm. Contact: 800 629 2746, mawasim.ae

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