Dubai’s government is developing more organic farms, but oil-dependent desalination plants used for water casts a shadow on their carbon footprint
News from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates tended to be dominated by new construction projects being announced or more recently debts levels, but it seems that the government is making a serious push to promote organic farming as well. The National is reporting that the government in Dubai plans to add 23 new organic farms by June 2011 to the 17 that already exist.
Work on the new farms will start in September by converting existing farms into organic and by constructing greenhouses that will allow fruit and vegetables to grow in a cooler environment, as outside temperatures can reach 45 Celsius or 102 Fahrenheit during the summer months.
In addition, the government will add new laws that regulate both local and imported organic foods that will include a trademark to make it easier for consumers to find the organic products.
Most of us might only think of Dubai as one big city but there are surrounding areas with a rich biodiversity and wildlife.
Over the last few years organic produce has become more popular in the Emirates as people have tired of fruits and vegetables being imported, which may have the advantage of always having everything available but with a taste that is often described as not quite the real thing.
Is Desalinated Water Organic?
In a country that gets 90% of its water via desalination the question is whether anything grown locally can be called organic considering the use of oil to power the desalination plants.
“As long as you have local water you cannot achieve a low carbon footprint because of the desalination required. Composting is incredibly difficult to do in the heat. We’re fighting the elements,” Nils el Accad, the owner of Organic Foods & Café an organic supermarket in Dubai was quoted by the National as saying.
El Accad also said that when considering the carbon footprint it might actually be better to develop organic farms abroad and then import the produce via ship; the UAE and other Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia have already purchased farmlands in both Africa and Asia to attain food security as domestic agriculture is not able to meet the demands of an ever growing population.
:: The National